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"I trust him 1000%" - Tuchel defends Alonso no longer taking the knee


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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has defended the decision of Marcos Alonso to no longer take the knee. 

The Spanish wing-back has ditched the anti-racism gesture that has become commonplace since the Premier League's return from lockdown last summer.

Instead, Alonso said he will point towards the 'No Room for Racism' badge on his sleeve. It's a tactic that was also employed by Hungary defender Ákos Kecskés when Republic of Ireland players took the knee in June's friendly in Budapest.

"I am fully against racism and I'm against every type of discrimination, and I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says no to racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries," Alonso said.

"I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody."

Alonso is the second high profile Premier League player to stop taking the knee.

In February, Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha who reasoned, "We’re isolating ourselves, we’re trying to say that we’re equal but we’re isolating ourselves with these things that aren’t even working anyway, so that’s my stand on it."

Alonso is the first caucasian player in the Premier League to stop taking the knee, but he's received the backing of his manager.

"The most important for me is that I know Marcos personally and I trust him 1000% that he is absolutely committed against racism and any form of it," Tuchel said.

"There is no question about it. We are all against it.

"We took the decision together to take the knee, maybe sometimes it takes an action against a routine to wake up again and have another discussion.

"All of us have the same point, to do the most against racism and stand up against it so there are different ways of doing it.

"Marcos took his decision, he is a grown up and responsible person. This is his position, we accept it. He gave his reasons for it and either discussions can end or go on in a productive way."

Premier League clubs voted "unanimously" to continue taking the knee prior to the current season.

Asked if the gesture was losing steam, Tuchel replied, "Isn't it always like this? Once you do a gesture and then everybody is doing, then you do it so often because there are so many games it becomes normal and then maybe it lowers the effect of it.

"If this is his point then I can see his point, we can now discuss if if it is necessary if he is the only guy to stand up but I think he is aware of it.

"He is experience enough and responsible enough and that's the way it is. This development started with single persons taking the knee then it became a bigger thing and I think Marcos' point is that it can't stay like this.

"Marcos' point is that it cannot end like this and that it cannot become normal. What should be normal is that we are all against racism and I understand that Marcos thinks there is always more to do that is also right.

"At the same time, of course we want to focus on sport but use our platform and the possibilities we have, how we produce performances together leading by example and I think this is the most important thing."

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