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Chelsea boss Tuchel explains surprising Loftus-Cheek decision in FA Cup final

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has explained why he subsituted Ruben Loftus-Cheek less than 15 minutes after bringing him on in the FA Cup final against Liverpool, writes the F365.

The England international replaced Christian Pulisic at half-time in extra-time and played as a centre-forward as both sides looked for the winning goal.

But Loftus-Cheek was taken off a few minutes before the penalty shoot-out began with Liverpool winning 6-5 after a 0-0 draw at the end of extra-time.

When asked whether Loftus-Cheek had been taken off for Ross Barkley because he’d picked up an injury, Tuchel said: “No, that was purely for penalties.

“Ruben has not got a good history, statistically, and Ross has so it was purely because of the penalties.”

And Tuchel was proud of his player’s efforts against Liverpool despite another loss at the final hurdle after losing to Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Carabao Cup final earlier this campaign.

“Like in the last final, the Carabao Cup, no regrets. I told the team I was proud,”Tuchel said.

“We played 240 minutes of final team against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world and it’s 0-0.

“We lose on penalties and we are disappointed and sad, but at the same time proud because we showed everything that we need. I was sure during the match the momentum was on our side but unfortunately I was not right.

“We proved four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them at this kind of level. All the results were deserved and could’ve gone our way or their way.”

Antonio Rudiger will be leaving Chelsea in the summer when his contract expires and he was disappointed not to get one last trophy with the club.

“I think it was a good game like the Carabao Cup final,” Rudiger said.

“We had chances, they had chances. But at the end of the day we know that penalties are always a lottery. We lost. At the end of the day it’s about winning.

“It’s about today, it’s not about next season. The game was about today and it was there to take and, yeah, unfortunately we didn’t.”

Rudiger added: “It’s been five years as normal with ups and downs, but with a lot of positive things.

“That’s why I’m even more frustrated because I wanted to have a different ending.

“At the end of the day it’s not only about one side, it’s both sides – Chelsea have been great to me, I have been great to Chelsea.

“As always, I am very, very thankful, me, my family. I became a man here. My kids were born here and everything. London and especially Chelsea will always be special to me.”

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