Sport

Tuchel ‘fair fight’ as he didn’t insist on hard feelings after Conte clash


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he was happy to receive “fair intervention” from Tottenham boss Antonio Conte after receiving two red cards for colliding twice during Sunday’s 2-2 warm-up.

Conte’s overzealous celebration of the Spurs’ first equalizer resulted in a confrontation between the two coaches.

Tuchel then responded by crossing the touchline in celebration as Chelsea took the lead 13 minutes later, passing Reece James.

But Harry Kane’s equalizer at 96 minutes meant that Conte had the last laugh.

Tuchel wasn’t happy for not making eye contact during a full-time handshake in Italy, which led to another close fight between coaches and players alike.

“It was hot because of the heat and it was hot between the benches and it was hot on the pitch and it was hot in the audience,” said Tuchel, where temperatures were above 30 degrees Celsius in the British capital.

“There are no difficult feelings. I feel fair intervention from him and fair intervention from me.

“We didn’t insult each other, we didn’t hit each other, we were fighting for our teams and there’s absolutely no harsh feeling on my part. I’m surprised we both got a red card for that.”

Tuchel’s anger was directed at officials as both Tottenham’s goals might not be allowed.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s shot was allowed to continue despite a possible foul on Kai Havertz during preparation and Richarlison standing in an offside position when Dane’s shot was hit.

Before Kane’s equalizing corner kick, Spurs defender Sergio Romero also avoided a red card for dragging Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair.

“It was a clear foul on Kai Havertz. Okay, it goes on and on, then it’s a clear offside,” Tuchel said.

“Since when can you pull hair on the football field? That’s ridiculous.

“That’s the only disappointment. I’m the happiest coach in the world because we played a great game.”

Conte answered a few questions about his head-to-head with Tuchel, but acknowledged that despite the Spurs’ recovery, a gap remains between the sides.

Chelsea won all four games between the sides last season, three after Conte took office in November.

“I think it’s better to talk about the game. Chelsea showed they are a really good team, but we were a bit better than last season,” said Conte.

“The difference is obvious. This team won the Champions League two years ago, won the Club World Cup last year, reached the finals of the FA Cup and the Carabao (League) Cup.

“There is a gap between Chelsea and Tottenham but we are here to narrow that gap. We lost three times last season, this time we drew, so it’s a small step forward.”

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