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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel plays down Antonio Conte clash, blasts refereeing display

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel plays down Antonio Conte clash, blasts refereeing display

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has attempted to play down his clash with Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte after the full-time whistle of Sunday’s Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge.

After a heated encounter ended 2-2 courtesy of a last-gasp Harry Kane equaliser, the pair shook hands at the full-time whistle, only for Tuchel to retain grip of Conte’s hand after taking offence that he did not make eye contact.

The incident, which resulted in the pair having to be separated before being handed straight red cards, was the second flashpoint after Conte appeared to celebrate Spurs’ first equaliser too close to Chelsea’s substitutes’ bench and in the eyeline of Tuchel.

When quizzed on the matter by Sky Sports, Tuchel appeared to try to diffuse the situation, insisting that it was normal for emotions to boil over given the rivalry between the two London clubs.

Tuchel said: “I thought when you shake hands that you look into each other’s eyes. Antonio had a different opinion. It was emotional. He was happy when he equalised, things got a bit heated, nothing big.”

Things got HEATED between Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte after a dramatic 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham. 👀

— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 14, 2022

When asked what will happen if he sees Conte behind the scenes, the German added: “If we meet, we meet. If not, not. It’s not a problem. It’s a football match, come on guys. Between men, two competitors, nothing bad happened.”

As far as the game itself is concerned, Tuchel will be left disappointed after Chelsea failed to make their dominance count with goals from Kalidou Koulibaly and Reece James giving the West Londoners the lead on two occasions.

Spurs’ first equalsier from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg came after Chelsea thought that they should have been handed a free kick due to a foul by Rodrigo Bentancur on Kai Havertz, before Hojbjerg’s shot found the bottom corner with Richarlison in an offside position and seemingly in line with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Tuchel was also left aggrieved with Spurs’ second goal after Cristian Romero pulled the hair of Marc Cucurella at the corner preceding the one which Kane glanced into the far corner with his head.

VAR, like it did with the first goal, checked the incident and made the decision not to send off the Argentine, the only action which could have been taken with the technology not able to give a foul.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane scoring against Chelsea on August 14, 2022.© Reuters

As well as criticising the performance of the referee, Tuchel heaped praise on the performance of his team, who controlled for large periods without showing a ruthless streak in the final third.

Tuchel said “We were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Both of their goals should not stand, absolutely not. There is only one team who deserve to win and that’s us. We were absolutely brilliant, and I’m sorry for my team that they do not get what they deserve.

“First of all, it is a clear foul on Kai Havertz. We had one tactical foul from Reece James, got straight yellow. I don’t know how many tactical fouls Hojbjerg and Bentancur did today, nothing happened.

“Clear foul on Kai Havertz, ok, situation goes on. Then it is clear offside with Richarlison. He is in the line of the shot, he even goes to touch the ball, he doesn’t the ball, Mendy cannot see the ball, they check it and it is a clear offside.

“Then since when can we pull hair on a football field. Since when is that? Then we check it and nothing happens. We don’t need to check anymore. Ridiculous.”

Chelsea, who end the day in seventh position in the Premier League standings, are next in action when they face Leeds United on August 21.

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