Rudiger will not seek Champions League ‘revenge’ for Chelsea
Antonio Rudiger will not launch a revenge mission against Luis Suarez when Chelsea host Atletico Madrid in Wednesday’s crucial Champions League clash.
Regular agitator Suarez pinched Rudiger’s thigh when Chelsea edged out Atletico 1-0 in Bucharest to take a slender advantage in their last 16 Champions League tie.
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The Blues will look to complete the job at Stamford Bridge in Wednesday’s second leg and secure safe passage to the quarter-finals – with Rudiger insisting he will not be distracted by Suarez’s antics.
“He defends his patch, I defend mine, this is all,” said Rudiger.
“I go with no feeling of any pressure for revenge or anything like this.
“I am just focussed on our targets and that is to win the game and get through, because Atletico is not only Luis Suarez.”
Suarez has been banned three times in his career for biting, including the incident with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.
The Uruguay forward has always sought to wind up his opponents to wrestle any possible edge, and certainly attempted to unsettle Rudiger when Atletico lost to Chelsea on February 23.
Suarez has struck 18 goals for Atletico this term, having made the summer switch from Barcelona.
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And Rudiger insists the 34-year-old remains among the world’s best strikers.
“Honestly, he’s a world-class player,” said Rudiger.
“He’s shown it at every club he has been at in Europe. He’s a very, very good player and he has a lot of fight in him and obviously he’s a top opponent. He just defends his patch by trying to fight for his team.”
Chelsea must do without suspended midfielders Mason Mount and Jorginho to face Atletico, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
Tammy Abraham has failed to shake off his troublesome ankle problem, while Thiago Silva continues to battle a thigh issue.
Timo Werner boasts just two goals in his last 26 Chelsea appearances, but Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has tipped the Germany forward to find his scoring touch.
“For Timo, I think he has no reason now to be frustrated because he played an amazing match against Liverpool, maybe his best match since I arrived,” said Tuchel.
“Then he had a good match against Everton with a lot of chances to score, which he normally is clinical enough and strong enough.
“The clear advice from us is don’t focus on the result, focus on the process, get your decision-making right, get your technique right, take good decisions and the ball and the opponent’s goalkeeper will do the rest.”