Mykhaylo Mudryk has caused a stir online after sharing a post praising Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi after he was played out of position in Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
The Ukrainian star started the key Champions League tie on the bench with the Blues needing to overhaul a two goal deficit against the La Liga giants to advance to the semi-finals of the competition.
A brace from Rodrygo was enough to send Chelsea home, with Mudryk playing at left-back for the last 20 minutes of the game after replacing Marc Cucurella.
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Frank Lampard’s decision to deploy Mudryk in a defensive role left the Blues fans on social media bemused, with many ridiculing the decision.
And Mudryk’s decision to post an image of himself with De Zerbi, who managed the player at his former club Shakhtar Donetsk, on social media after Tuesday night’s loss has not gone unnoticed.
The Italian coach has excelled since taking over at Brighton this year – so much so that he was linked with the Chelsea job after the club’s decision to dismiss Potter.
De Zerbi and Mudryk were reunited at the weekend, where the Brighton manager masterminded a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge to pile more misery on Lampard ahead of their meeting with Los Blancos.
And Mudryk made his respect for his old coach clear by posting two images of him and De Zerbi from Saturday’s game on his Instagram story with the caption: “Nice to meet you again,” complete with a heart emoji.
It has since been reported that De Zerbi is not under consideration to replace Potter at Chelsea. Former Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann is the favourite to take charge next season after holding talks with the club hierarchy.
Lampard, meanwhile, has vowed to get Chelsea back on track before the arrival of a new manager after their latest setback.
Speaking on Tuesday, the temporary Chelsea boss said: “We played really well for 60 minutes. We created chances but you have to take them. You don’t want to praise the performance too much when you lose at this level but we were much improved.
“This club has been further in this competition and the players can take this feeling forward with them for the future.”