Thomas Tuchel has revealed the reason behind his decision to prematurely replace Callum Hudson-Odoi in Chelsea’s 1-1 away draw with Southampton.
Widely recognized as one of the finest up-and-coming players in the Premier League, Hudson-Odoi has established himself as a permanent fixture at Stamford Bridge this term. Indeed, after struggling to impose himself at the senior level last season, the 20-year-old’s potential has sparked into life in the 2020/21 campaign. The English forward has already racked up 26 appearances in all competitions under both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel, becoming a valuable first-team asset for Chelsea in the process.
Though Hudson-Odoi has proved himself to be a pace-changer on more than one occasion this season, something went wrong for the highly-rated youngster at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The lightning-quick winger joined the fray as a second-half substitute for Tammy Abraham but only lasted 30 minutes on the pitch. Curiously, Tuchel decided to withdraw Hudson-Odoi in favor of Hakim Ziyech in the 76th minute amid Chelsea’s pursuit of a winner against Southampton. His decision to remove the talented Englishman in such circumstances left many supporters puzzled.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is the first Chelsea player to be subbed on and subbed off in the same Premier League game this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 20, 2021
Interesting to know what the reason might be. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/pqEDqMLsae
However, Tuchel has offered a clear explanation for this utterly awkward situation.
“It was not the game plan,” the German manager said, as relayed by talkSPORT. “I was not happy with his attitude against the ball; he forgot the counter-pressing situation sometimes.
“We talked about how we expected his energy, work rate, and strife from the games. I trust him a lot. I think he’s played every match. But today I was not happy.
“I had the feeling he could not help, and he did not accept the intensity that is needed. I took this decision. It’s a hard decision today. But tomorrow it’s forgotten.”
Hudson-Odoi won’t have to wait long to rectify his mistakes, as his next opportunity to shine might come as early as Tuesday. Chelsea travel to Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.