Kolkata, April 17: Chelsea's last summer signing Antonio Rudiger found himself out of the squad during the Blues 3-2 win over Southampton last week despite being fit.
After the 1-1 draw with West Ham, Rudiger was critical of Antonio Conte's tactics in the game. The defender slammed his team-mates and questioned the team’s tactics.
"I think in the second half we could finish the game. But like the last few months we didn't and we concede," he said.
"For me, it isn't easy to explain. I don’t understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more ball possession."
And surprisingly in the very next game, Conte dropped Rudiger and many started to speculate that it might be because of his outburst against the manager.
The centre-back was replaced in the starting XI by Andreas Christensen and was not even named in the reserves.
Conte defended the move saying it was purely a tactical decision, but now in a recent interview Rudiger has acknowledged that the exclusion might be because of the comments after the frustrating 1-1 stalemate against West Ham.
Asked whether he thought he had been left out because of the comments, Rudiger said, "Probably. But I didn't mean it that way.
"It was a fact, it wasn't about the tactics. I didn't attack anyone personally, I meant us as a team."
He added: "I think that I played quite a lot of games in recent weeks and months. This was a little break."
However, Rudiger also added that his relationship with the Chelsea boss is normal.
On the nature of his relationship with Conte, he said: "It's just normal from my side. He's my coach. I must respect him. And he's a very, very good coach."
Chelsea will next face Burnley in their race for a top-four spot and it will be now interesting to see whether Rudiger is recalled for Thursday night's Premier League clash away or the FA Cup semifinal against the Saints at Wembley three days later.
The German joined the Blues from Roma in a £29m deal last summer and has played 39 games in all competitions, becoming a key player for Conte.