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Rüdiger knows Chelsea need more than just defensive excellence for top-four finish

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Improvement needed

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

The weekend’s goalless draw between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge has resulted in some well-deserved praise for our defenders, but that praise has been tempered by the fact that we were unable to pick up all three points.

While the team’s staunch defending should be creating a solid platform from which to build our offense and show our attacking prowess, that has not been happening with enough consistent quality. So while Rüdiger, like fellow center back Andreas Christensen, is undoubtedly pleased with keeping all these clean sheets, he knows that those alone won’t be enough to achieve our goals.

“It’s about keeping our defensive shape, as we did over the past few weeks, and trying to do better in creating chances and scoring.

“The way we set up has been good and we always try to play from the back. Things have been going good but there’s a long way to go and we have to keep improving. We’re pleased with another clean sheet but it’s just one point. We have to take it and move on but I know we can still do better.”

As is often the case, it’s been a very close fight for the top-four in the Premier League — with seemingly even more participants than usual — and it’s a race that might go down to the wire. While Manchester City have now completely detached themselves from the rest of the league with their 12-point lead over second-place Manchester United 26 matches into the season, there are at least nine teams, from United to Aston Villa, still in with a feasible chance of getting themselves Champions League football for next season.

That means every point will count, and every dropped point will be extra damaging. And with four dropped points over the past two games, our next two games, against Liverpool and Everton, have now taken on even greater significance.

“It depends on us. We still have a lot of games to play and also against direct opponents so the battle is still in our own hands.

“What the coach has brought is his way of playing, detailed work and the defensive shape is very good at the moment. Our aim is to arrive in the top four [...] with the top four, everything is open.”

-Antonio Rüdiger; source: Chelsea FC

Timo to keep hustling!