Chelsea recovered from a goal down to delay Manchester City’s Premier League title celebrations and Antonio Rudiger revealed what his manager Thomas Tuchel told the squad at half-time.
The Blues had fallen behind to a Raheem Sterling opener and were fortunate not to go into the dressing room two goals down after Sergio Aguero’s panenka penalty was saved by Eduoard Mendy.
Chelsea came out all guns blazing in the second half, with Hakim Ziyech’s low strike drawing them level before Mason Mount scored a stoppage time winner to seal another vital three points for Tuchel’s side.
The result has put Chelsea in total control in the race for a top-four finish with three games left to play, although they can still qualify for Europe’s premier competition regardless if they win the Champions League.
Rudiger was delighted with the ‘fighting spirit’ shown by his team-mates as they rallied back from a goal down and he gave some insight into the Chelsea dressing room at half-time, where Tuchel urged calm and called for them to battle until the end.
‘It was a crazy game!’ Rudiger told the club’s official website.
‘We conceded in the last few minutes of the first half, then there was the penalty also which was saved by Edou. ‘Then we came out for the second half and we started very strong after half-time.
‘We showed a great fighting spirit. Even the players that haven’t always played that often, they came into the team against a very strong City side and they made the difference for us and this is very important because it shows we need everyone to play their part.
‘Against a team like City, you can accept that they will have a lot of the ball. We were all clear before the game that we knew we would have moments where we would suffer. We went through that and kept working hard.
‘Other than their goal and the penalty, I don’t think they created too much. We remained focus on our game and we always believed we could create chances of our own.
‘At half-time, we were still in the game and the coach highlighted that to us. He wanted us to go out and show spirit, which we did, and we all totally believed that we could turn things around.
‘They are a very strong team but they are also human, and there will be times when they make mistakes.
‘When that happens, you have to be ready to punish them and we did that at the end with our winning goal and it was a great feeling for everyone to get this victory.’
Chelsea have now beaten City in their past two meetings – the other coming in the FA Cup semi-finals – ahead of the Champions League final later this month.
‘There’s a long way to go until the Champions League final on the 29th but we know that both teams will be super prepared for a great game,’ Rudiger added.
‘It will be the game of our lives, as it will be for them too. One thing is clear, we will go there wanting to win just as we have done in these past two games against City.’