Tuchel ‘happiest manager in world’ despite red card in tempestuous derby
15 August, 2022, 7:04 pm
LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel said he was “the happiest manager in the world” despite earning a red card at the end of a stormy 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday.
Tuchel went through mixed emotions on a sweltering afternoon at Stamford Bridge — anger at both of Tottenham’s goals, the second scored by Harry Kane in the sixth minute of stoppage time, and joy when Reece James initially restored Chelsea’s lead.
Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was also shown a red card after the second clash of the day with Tuchel, this time after the final whistle.
It was easy to have some sympathy with Tuchel whose impressive side dominated after a home-debut goal for Kalidou Koulibaly in the 19th minute.
“I’m not disappointed I’m the happiest manager in the world,” the German told Sky Sports. “We were absolutely brilliant. Only one side deserved to win and that was us. Both their goals cannot stand.”
Tuchel felt that Kai Havertz had been fouled in the build-up to Tottenham’s equaliser, scored by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the 68th minute, and that Richarlison was offside and blocking the view of keeper Edouard Mendy.
Then, shortly before Kane’s dramatic leveller, Tuchel said new signing Marc Cucurella had had his hair pulled by Tottenham centre back Cristian Romero.
“There was a clear foul on Kai Havertz and the situation goes on and on. Richarlison was offside and when can you pull hair on a football field?” Tuchel said.
“We were hungry, it was a top performance. I’m sorry for all my players that we didn’t get the result we deserved.”
Tuchel played down the bad blood between him and Conte during and immediately after the game.
“It was hot from the temperature and hot between the benches and hot on the field and hot between the spectators — everything that you want and what you hope in a match like this early in the season,” he told the BBC’s Match of the Day.
“There’s no hard feelings (with Conte) — 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 were fighting for our teams and from my side there’s absolutely no hard feelings. I’m surprised that we both got a red card for that.”
Tottenham were delighted to earn a point at a ground where they have won only once in their last 38 visits, even if they were fortunate to avoid defeat.
“My opinion is it’s better to talk about the game,” Italian Conte said of his clashes with Tuchel.
“Chelsea showed they are a really good team. Compared to last season we did better but if we want to create problems for Chelsea (in the table) we have to be better.”