Rio Ferdinand pinpoints the key difference in Antonio Rudiger under Thomas Tuchel

Rio Ferdinand believes Antonio Rudiger has rediscovered his edge playing under Thomas Tuchel for Chelsea.

The Blues centre-back started the season out of favour under Frank Lampard, but has won his place in the side back as the season has gone on.

Rudiger has stepped his game up further since Tuchel’s appointment in January, and Ferdinand believes the 28-year-old has added an extra edge to his game.

After the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid, Rudiger has now helped the Blues keep clean sheets in ten of the 12 matches he has featured in since Tuchel’s appointment at Stamford Bridge.

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Speaking on BT Sport, former England centre-back Ferdinand feels Rudiger is benefiting from Tuchel’s renewed faith in him as a player.

He said: “I think he’s a solid defender. I think on the ball, you can see some weakness in his game, but defending-wise, you can see an edge to him we haven’t seen in a while especially under Frank.

“It was obvious Frank didn’t fancy him as a defender and that happens in your career, it can’t just be a bed or roses for everyone, but he’s responded ever so well since he’s been called upon by the new manager.”

Ferdinand has been impressed with the Blues’ defensive set up as a whole under Tuchel and believes it is benefiting goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

The pundit theorised that Tuchel may well look to play more expansively next season but says the manager has resolved to strengthen the Blues’ defence before looking towards the attacking end of the pitch.

He said: “It’s been such a difference. Before they scored more goals but they also conceded more goals.

“They get so many bodies behind the ball.

“He’s got to find the balance, he’s gone in there and said: ‘I’m going to make everything solid’.

“Be hard to beat, be hard to play against and then next season, then I’ll start playing some more expansive football but have a good core and a good base and that’s what he’s created here so far.”

“I wouldn’t want to play these at the moment, the way they’re playing. They’re a stingy team, they defend from the front. The first goal epitomised what they’re about: Werner is making a slide tackle, defending a cross and then gets up the other end to set up the goal. They’re a hard team to play against right now.”

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