Thomas Tuchel risked landing himself in further hot water after his angry bust-up with Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte by suggesting it might be better if Anthony Taylor no longer referees Chelsea games.
Chelsea head coach Tuchel laughed off his two confrontations with Conte as Tottenham snatched a last-gasp draw at Stamford Bridge. But he will be banned from the touchline for one game after he and Conte were shown red cards after the final whistle, and could now face further disciplinary action from the Football Association for suggesting Taylor is biased against his team.
Despite playing down his clashes with Conte, Tuchel hit out at Taylor and revealed that Chelsea’s players “know what’s going on” regarding the official and agreed with supporters who are calling for him to be stopped from refereeing games involving Chelsea.
Tuchel was particularly upset with the decisions not to give a foul against Tottenham midfielder Rodgrigo Bentancur or an offside against Richarlison ahead of the visitors' first equaliser and the fact Var took no action over Cristian Romero pulling Marc Cucurella’s hair before the corner from which Harry Kane levelled six minutes into stoppage time.
More than 80,000 Chelsea fans last season launched a petition for Taylor to be taken off the club’s games and a new petition was launched shortly after full-time on Sunday that quickly attracted over 10,000 signatures. When it was put to Tuchel that supporters believe he has history with Chelsea, the German replied: “I don’t think that (just) some of the fans think that.
“I can assure you that the whole dressing room, every single person thinks that. I cannot understand how the first goal is not offside. And I cannot understand since when can the players pull other people’s hair and stay on the pitch and attack in the last corner.
“This for me, it 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.”
Asked if he shares the views of Chelsea’s fans on Taylor, Tuchel replied: “You know the players, they know what’s going on and they’re on the pitch and they know it and again it is like this. Yes, of course (they are worried when Taylor is the referee).”
TUCHEL VS CONTE: ROUND TWO!!! 🤬🤬 pic.twitter.com/XhWuOU4fwD
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 14, 2022
Faced specifically with the question of whether it would be best if Taylor did not referee Chelsea games in future, Tuchel added: “Maybe that would be better. Maybe it would be better, but we also have Var to help make the right decisions. Since when can players be pulled by their hair? Since when is that?
“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? 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.”
Conte is also set to be banned from the touchline, for Tottenham’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Tuchel is in line to be in the stands at Elland Road for Chelsea’s trip to Leeds. Tuchel added: “So…good. I cannot coach but the referee can whistle the next game.”
Chelsea were last season infuriated with a red card shown by Taylor to Reece James against Liverpool. The official sent off Mateo Kovacic in the 2020 FA Cup final against Arsenal, allowed Harry Maguire to get away with a kick to the groin on Michy Batshuayi in the same year and upset fans in the 2017 FA Cup final by allowing an Alexis Sanchez goal, despite a possible handball.
Conte refused to comment on Taylor’s performance, but clearly felt he should not have been shown a red card for his part in the bust-up. Both coaches were booked when they squared up after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s goal and then Tuchel pulled Conte back as the Italian shook his hand at the end of the match which sparked chaos.
“The referee showed me the red card, but he didn’t understand the dynamic of what happened,” said Conte. “But it is ok. I have to accept it. But I repeat, it is not a big problem or not important. If there is a problem, it is between me and the other coach.”
Both coaches admitted they enjoyed squaring up to each other and Conte joked that it might be better to scrap the handshake ritual entirely when Tottenham next meet Chelsea.
“To enjoy what happened, we did enjoy it,” said Conte with a smile. “But next time we will pay more attention and don't shake hands, and we solve the problem! He stays in my 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.”
On the handshake bust-up, Tuchel said: “I just compared it to two players who had a fight on the field, but nothing happens and nobody gets injured.
“Then the players, if you have a hard tackle, a fair tackle, and you don’t go later and apologise, it’s no need, it’s Premier League football. The two managers got involved today because both of us were fighting for our teams. That was it.
“Nobody got insulted, nobody got hurt. We didn’t have a fist fight. So for me it is not a big deal. It was part of it today and it heated up, but nothing bad. Today it was part of the game.
“I don’t have any and I’m sure he will not have any [bad feelings]. We both fought for our teams. It happens. It was so close here, it was such an intense match. Both dug-outs are very close, so it got a bit heated. Yes. I think he enjoyed it as well. It was nothing bad.”
Chelsea will this week step up their bid to sign striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona and have also expressed an interest in Everton midfielder Anthony Gordon, who Chelsea value at around £45 million.
How the post-match Conte v Tuchel clash erupted
Kane nods home in stoppage time
The Tottenham striker heads home Ivan Perisic's corner to grab a share of the spoils in stoppage time.
Tuchel and Conte shake hands
Despite the flashpoint minutes before, Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte shake hands after a thrilling and dramatic 2-2 draw. But the bad blood is still boiling away below the surface, as Conte refuses to look the Chelsea manager in the eye.
Tuchel refuses to let go
Irate at what he appears to view as a lack of respect, Tuchel holds on to Conte's hand as the Tottenham manager walks away.
Conte confronts his rival
The Italian spins around and, with his emotions quickly revealing themselves in his facial expression, he furiously confronts Tuchel as the two collide for the second time.
Tuchel makes his point
With the pair now being separated, Tuchel points to his eyes and appears to make reference to Conte's apparent failure to look at him for the traditional post-match handshake, sparking a second melee in the process
The inevitable red cards
Having been booked for their part in the earlier skirmish, both Conte and Tuchel are given their marching orders by referee Anthony Taylor, and the pair now faces FA disciplinary action for being sent-off after the final whistle.