Thomas Tuchel said he was unimpressed by the belated apology of the VAR official Mike Dean for missing the foul on Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella that preceded Tottenham’s late equaliser in last week’s absorbing 2-2 draw.
Dean wrote in his Daily Mail column: “I didn’t deem it a violent act” and that “upon reflection”, he should have asked the referee, Anthony Taylor, to visit his “pitchside monitor to take a look for himself” after Cucurella’s hair was pulled by Cristian Romero, the Spurs defender.
“I would not take that amount of time after I made a mistake like this to say I did a mistake,” said the Chelsea manager, who has been handed a suspended one-game touchline ban for his post-match skirmish with opposite number Antonio Conte, but will be present for Sunday afternoon’s match at Leeds.
Tuchel added that an official’s apology coming via a paid newspaper column was “a bit strange” but was far more fixated on the decision being “more than just a bad decision”.
“In 99% of the decisions we are discussing about handball or not handball, sometimes I don’t understand fully the rules and there are always explanations. But it’s a new level of a mistake, I think, such an obvious and clear mistake with such an enormous consequence, immediately to the outcome of the game.
“It was very, very hard to accept and to understand, and what I cannot understand is that it takes a man, a grownup man, a further referee, from the Sunday to the Friday to admit this mistake. I am not impressed by how it’s written.”
Harry Kane’s late equaliser was followed by Tuchel and Conte confronting each other during their post-match handshake before both were given a red card by Taylor. “It’s a bit harder to accept, given the context, because two minutes before someone of our team got pulled by the hair,” Tuchel said.
“If we both pulled our hairs maybe we got have got away with it, for a handshake it’s suddenly a red card. It was after the match. It was more passion than anything else.” His post-match suggestion that Taylor should not be given further Chelsea matches has also resulted in an FA investigation.
“I just said maybe it would be better,” Tuchel said. “I want to make this very clear, I did not attack his integrity. I said very early that the two decisions are clear decisions for the VAR but I was not happy with the way he whistled the game. It was about this game, and I think it was in an acceptable way still without being personal and without falling out of line.”
Tuchel did not deny emotion got the better of him against Tottenham or his passion for a club he said he is in talks with over a new contract. “There are talks but given the situation, where we come from, where we are right now in the middle of the transfer period, I think it’s the very best I just focus on my team and sports, and being competitive.
“My people talk to the owners, and take care of everything else. You know how glad I am to be here and how much I like it.” In a week in which the teenage Italian midfielder Cesare Casadei was signed from Inter and welcomed to Chelsea’s Cobham training complex, Tuchel lamented the loss of key man N’Golo Kanté with a “quite serious” hamstring problem, suffered against Spurs.
“We’re talking about weeks. So not good news. We are disappointed and sad because N’Golo was super important and was super fit. He will be out for several weeks.”