Tuchel and Conte lock horns on sidelines of tumultuous Spurs-Chelsea derby


London: Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel says he is “the happiest manager in the world” despite being shown 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 Tottenham’s two 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 also received a red card after the second clash of the day with Tuchel, this time after the final whistle.

It was easy to have sympathy for Tuchel whose impressive side dominated after an early home goal for Kalidou Koulibaly in the 19th minute.

“I’m not disappointed to be the happiest manager in the world,” the German told Sky Sports.

“We were absolutely brilliant. Only one team deserved to win and that was us. Their two goals can’t stand.”

Tuchel felt Kai Havertz was fouled in the build-up to Tottenham’s equalizer, scored by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the 68th minute, and Richarlison was offside and blocked goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s view.

Then, shortly before Kane’s dramatic leveling, Tuchel claimed new signing Marc Cucurella had his hair pulled by Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero.

“There was a clear foul on Kai Havertz and the situation continues over and over again. Richarlison was offside and when can you tear your hair out on a football pitch?” said Tuchel.

“We were hungry, it was a top performance. I’m sorry to 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 match.

“It was hot because of the weather and hot between the benches and hot on the pitch and hot between the spectators – everything you want and hope for in a game like this at the start of the season,” said he told BBC Match of the Day.

“There are no hard feelings (with Conte) – I feel like it was a fair tackle from him and a fair tackle from me. We didn’t insult each other, we didn’t hit, we fought for our teams and from my side, there are absolutely no hard feelings. I’m surprised we both got a red card for that.”

Tottenham were delighted to score a point at a ground they have won only once in their last 38 visits, although they were lucky to avoid defeat.

“My opinion is that it’s better to talk about the game,” Italian Conte said of his clashes with Tuchel.

“Chelsea showed they are a very 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.”


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