Matic sends message to Hudson-Odoi over substitution controversy


Nemanja Matic has reached out to Callum Hudson-Odoi and urged him to ‘be positive and keep going forward’ after being subbed on and subbed off in Chelsea’s draw with Southampton.

Hudson-Odoi had started all but one of Tuchel’s opening five matches at the club in the Premier League before Chelsea game against Southampton and will have been disappointed as he was only made the bench at St Mary’s.

And while Hudson-Odoi was given the opportunity to impress after coming off the bench after the break, he lasted only 31 minutes before he was then replaced by Hakim Ziyech.

An angry Tuchel blasted Hudson-Odoi’s energy levels and attitude after the match but has since brushed off the incident and the 20-year-old even started against Atletico Madrid.

The situation brought back memories of Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton back in October 2015, when Jose Mourinho hauled Matic off only 28 minutes after introducing him at Stamford Bridge.

‘It was hard but that’s football. You have to respect the manager’s decisions,’ Matic, who now plays at Manchester United, told Sky Sports when comparing his and Hudson-Odoi’s experiences.

‘The next day is a new day and you have to be focussed on your job, you do your best and that’s life so sometimes you have to adapt.

‘I don’t want to say the manager is right or the player is right so the next game when you play good, nobody will remember that situation again.

‘Football goes very fast, life goes fast so the most important thing for that young player is to be positive and keep going forward.’

And, Tuchel revealed he had spoken privately with Hudson-Odoi and called on him to prove he’s a ‘reliable’ squad member in the team.

The German told Chelsea’s official website: ‘It is not a big thing at all for me. ‘I have spoken to Callum and I’ve spoken to the whole group. Sometimes these things happen in football and it was just my decision.

‘Maybe I was being harsh on him because he was on my side of the pitch and I was up close to him but I did not feel that he was really into the game. I didn’t think he was totally sharp and that is why I took a hard decision on him. But that decision was in the moment and for that day only.

‘For me, this is absolutely not a big thing and only becomes one if people want to talk about it. ‘Callum has been fantastic for me so far and it’s on him to show me that every game and every day in training.

‘I want him to show me that he is a reliable guy for the team when he comes on from the bench, like he is when he starts.’


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