Antonio Rudiger confessed that he has “no idea” why Chelsea manager Antonio Conte dropped him against Southampton.
Chelsea beat Saints 3-2 after coming from two goals down to keep their slim chances of finishing in the top four alive.
Rudiger was not even named in the squad for the trip to St Mary’s, with Gary Cahill reinstated at centre-half.
The summer signing courted controversy last week when he criticised Chelsea’s approach late in games.
“I think in the second half we [could] finish the game [off]. But like the last few months, we didn’t and we [conceded],” he said after the 1-1 draw with West Ham.
“For me, it’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more ball possession.”
When quizzed why he was omitted from the squad on Saturday, Rudiger told German TV show Das aktuelle Sportstudio: “I have no idea. I am fully fit.”
The defender added more in an interview with ZDF.
“Probably. But I didn’t mean it that way,” he said when asked whether he was dropped due to his comments.
“It was a fact, it wasn’t about the tactics. I did not attack anyone personally, I meant us as a team.
“I think that I played quite a lot of games in recent weeks and months. This was a little break.
“It’s just normal from my side. He’s my coach. I must respect him. And he’s a very, very good coach.”