Chelsea boss explains extraordinary touchline bust-up (VIDEO)
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has shed light on his chaotic clash with opposite number Antonio Conte of Tottenham Hotspur after their teams drew 2-2 in a heated London derby in the Premier League on Sunday.
The fixture was Chelsea's first home match of the season, and the Blues found themselves ahead after new boy Kalidou Koulibaly scored on 19 minutes.
With 68 minutes on the clock, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalized for Spurs, which prompted ex-Chelsea boss Conte, who won them their last Premier League title in 2017, to get in Tuchel's face near the dugout and celebrate.
Inspired by another former Chelsea manager in Jose Mourinho, Tuchel then ran down the touchline when Reece James put the west Londoners 2-1 up with 13 minutes to spare.
Conte celebration when the Spurs equaliser went in, Tuchel was pissed pic.twitter.com/RTbpBj0qzD— 🇨🇩🇸🇱 (@F1avs) August 14, 2022
😆🤣 This Tuchel celebration after Reece-James scored. I had a good giggle! pic.twitter.com/jKJHb2OD0O— Mimi Fawaz (@MimosaFawaz) August 14, 2022
But the points were shared once Harry Kane netted a controversial 96th-minute leveler, and there was further drama when Tuchel and Conte became involved in a bizarre handshake tussle which triggered yet another melee and resulted in both men getting red cards.
The incident has understandably gone viral, with one clip of it already enjoyed close to 18 million views.
TUCHEL VS CONTE: ROUND TWO!!! 🤬🤬 pic.twitter.com/XhWuOU4fwD— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 14, 2022
After the dust had settled, Tuchel then used his post-match interview to explain how both usually classy and intelligent tacticians lost their cool.
"I thought when we shake hands you looked in each other’s eyes," Tuchel said. "He had a different opinion. It was not necessary but a lot of things were not necessary."
To this end, Tuchel conceded that he had perhaps gone too far with his touchline run.
"In the middle [of it] I thought I should not do this but sometimes a match gets you and this one really sucked me in. It was pure joy, it may offend our opponents but they did the same," said the German.
Tuchel added that he has no intention of continuing his beef with Conte. "There are no hard feelings. I feel like it was a fair tackle from him and a fair tackle from me. We did not insult each other, we did not hit each other, we are fighting for our teams."
Tuchel instead focused his anger on referee Anthony Taylor, who he suggested should never referee another Chelsea match as a petition online that has already attracted 80,000 signatures has demanded.
"Maybe that would be better," Tuchel stated. "Maybe it would be better but we also have VAR to help make the right decisions," he added, in reference to an incident before Kane's goal at the death where Cristian Romero could clearly be seen pulling the hair of new Chelsea signing Marc Cucurella.
"Since when can players be pulled by their hair? Since when is that?" Tuchel asked.
"If he does not see it, I don’t blame him. I didn’t see it but we have people at VAR who check this and then you see it and then what?
🗣 "Since when can you pull hair on a football field." Thomas Tuchel is highly critical of the decisions being made throughout the game and the overuse of tactical fouls pic.twitter.com/NYid5art6J— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 14, 2022
"How can this not be a free-kick and how can it not be a red card? How? This does not even have to do with the referee in this case. If he does not see something that’s why we have people to check if there is a decisive error going on," Tuchel continued, in reference to VAR.
"I can assure you that the whole dressing room, every single person thinks that," Tuchel said on perceived mistreatment by Taylor.
"I cannot understand how the first goal is not offside. And I cannot understand since when players can pull other people’s hair and stay on the pitch and attack in the last corner.
"This for me is without any explanation and I don’t want to accept it. I have no words for it. I am curious what the explanation is for that but both goals should not stand and then it’s a fair result. We were brilliant and we deserved to win," he concluded, in comments that are likely to see him further punished by the FA.
🗣 "There's only one team that deserves to win and it was us." Thomas Tuchel believes the Chelsea team were robbed of a victory pic.twitter.com/DqmLyhQFM5— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 14, 2022
As for Conte, he refused to be drawn into criticizing Taylor. And while saying that he thought the "celebrations from both sides were really good celebrations" - and especially "the run, the jump!" from Tuchel - he suggested that he and his Chelsea counterpart should keep themselves to themselves when their sides meet again.
"Next time we will pay more attention and don’t shake the hands and we solve the problem," the Italian remarked.
"He stays in his bench, I stay in my bench, with my staff on one side and no problem about this. It would be a pity if for this situation we miss the next game," he lamented.
"If I see aggressivity my answer is aggressivity," Conte said of his MO.
"The referee showed me the red card but he didn’t understand the dynamic of what happened. But it is OK. I have to accept [it]," Conte confessed.
Elsewhere on Instagram, though, Conte continued the vendetta by sending a cheeky message to Tuchel.
Sharing an image of his rival about to set off down the touchline after Chelsea's second goal he wrote: "Lucky I didn't see you... making you trip over would have been well deserved" and added a trio of crying-with-laughter emojis.
While Chelsea and Spurs are next expected to meet on February 25, if not before in an English cup competition, they now look forward to matches against Leeds United and Wolves respectively next weekend that both Tuchel and Conte might have to watch from high up in the stands.