In London Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte made an effort to brush off the physical altercation that resulted in their dismissals in a thrilling London derby, but the Chelsea manager did not find Anthony Taylor’s performance amusing and suggested that the referee not officiate any more games involving the Blues.
Following the first equalizer in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, both managers received bookings. A post-game handshake that lasted much too long ended with them squaring off once more at the final whistle.
Both of the equalizers—Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s low shot from outside the box on the 68-minute mark and Harry Kane’s leaping flick of a corner in the last seconds of play—had prompted jubilant responses from Conte. Tuchel wasn’t entirely innocent either. Reece James ran down the touchline past the Tottenham bench in joy after giving Chelsea the lead for the second time.
At the final horn, referee Anthony Taylor issued a straight red to both managers, ejecting them from their upcoming match. The on-field drama did not carry over to the press conferences following the game, where both coaches were eager to laugh off their antics. Tuchel even made a passing comment about how much he had liked the set and felt Conte would have as well.
The Chelsea manager stated, “I basically compared it to two players who got into a little bit of a skirmish on the field, but nothing occurs, nobody gets hurt. “Today, the two managers got involved because we were both battling for our teams. There it was. Nobody was offended. Nobody was injured. We avoided physical conflict. It’s not a big deal for me.
“It was such a thrilling game. Both dugouts are really close together. Was it fun for me? Yes, and I believe he did too.
Conte was also keen to create bridges throughout London, repeatedly stating that the traffic jam was “not a problem.” He implied that he thought both players should have received a red card by saying that Taylor “did not appreciate the nature” of what had transpired in the dugout. He could not help himself, though, from pointing out that Tuchel, in his opinion, had been the post-match aggressor because he had appeared to hold on longer as the two shook hands.
Sincerity be damned, he said, “I don’t want to go back again, but there’s a tape to see what happened. “To be clear, I do not support peace. If I perceive hostility, I will also respond aggressively. Of course.”
Taylor will be criticized for a variety of things, not simply getting sent to the bench. At least in part, Tuchel’s rage following the opening goal stemmed from what Chelsea believed to be a Rodrigo Bentancur foul on Kai Havertz. However, it should be emphasized that managers were informed about when VAR may potentially review infractions committed earlier in the course of play prior to the start of the season. While not reviewing the Bentancur challenge, VAR referee Mike Dean determined that Richarlison was not interfering with play while in an offside position during Hojbjerg’s goal attempt.
When replays revealed Cristian Romero had been grabbing Marc Cucurella’s hair in the corner right before Kane’s equalizer, Dean decided not to give him a red card. Tuchel was more upset about these instances than he was about the prolonged handshake.
“Some of his supporters may not believe [he made poor decisions], in my opinion. You can be sure that everyone in the dressing room believes that—I can attest to it. How the first goal is not offside baffles me. How players can be yanked by their hair is beyond me. For me, there is no justification for this, and I don’t want to accept it “Tuchel remarked.
Even though his presence on the field for some of the biggest games in the nation would suggest he is held in high regard by his counterparts at refereeing body PGMOL, Taylor, who sent off Mateo Kovacic in the 2020 FA Cup final three years after he had allowed a contentious Alexis Sanchez goal to stand, does not have the best reputation among Chelsea supporters.
When informed that some Chelsea fans held the same opinion, Tuchel responded, “Maybe it would be best [if he did not take command of Chelsea games]. However, he wasn’t only mad at the middle-aged man. Sincerely, VAR also aids in helping us choose the best choice. When was it okay to yank players by their hair? When did that stop becoming a foul?
“I don’t blame [Taylor] if he doesn’t see it. I missed seeing it. However, VAR employs individuals who verify this. Then, you realize that it is a red card and a free kick. In this instance, it is even irrelevant that the referee is involved. We have personnel to examine if there is a critical mistake occurring if he does not observe something, for this reason.”
Tuchel’s attitude was harsh when it was explained to him that he would miss Chelsea’s trip to Leeds the following week. “The referee can whistle the next game, but I can’t coach,”
The consequences of this game might go beyond just the head coach of the Blues receiving a red card.