Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel risked the wrath of UEFA by claiming referees lack the “courage” to give big decisions against Real Madrid.
Tuchel even admitted he could expect repercussions for criticising Polish referee Szymon Marciniak in the wake of the Blues’ 5-4 Champions League quarter-final exit.
Chelsea toppled Madrid 3-2 at the Bernabeu Stadium in their last-eight second-leg but exited the tournament on aggregate and only after extra time in Madrid.
Karim Benzema’s late header ultimately killed off Chelsea’s hopes of a miracle comeback but German coach Tuchel was left to bemoan Marcos Alonso’s disallowed goal and a clutch of other frustrating issues.
Tuchel also criticised referee Marciniak for “laughing and smiling” with Real boss Carlo Ancelotti at full-time.
“I’m disappointed that the referee had a good time with my colleague, Carlo Ancelotti,” said Tuchel.
“I know Carlo is a gentleman and a nice guy but when I wanted to go and say thank you I see him smiling and laughing loudly with the opponent coach.
“I think this is the very, very worst time to do this, after 126 minutes with one team giving their heart and desire, fighting to the very last drop.
“Afterwards you go as a coach and see the referee laughing and smiling with the other coach. I think it’s very, very bad timing.”
Asked if he was frustrated with the VAR decision to rule out Alonso’s goal for handball, Tuchel continued: “Not only today, it is like this for some time, and now maybe I get problems.
“If you play against Real Madrid you can maybe not expect everybody has the courage. I felt little decisions went against us also in the first-leg and today as well.
“I did not see the goal but I told him I’m super disappointed he didn’t go to check it himself.
“You should stay the boss and not give decisions like this to somebody in a chair and isolated from the atmosphere (the VAR).
“A referee has a certain style, things he allows and doesn’t allow, so I think he should stay in charge and check it on his own, then he could explain it better.
“But this is just my opinion. Maybe it’s too much to ask for in matches like this against this opponent.
“We had it in our hands and we were not lucky enough, it’s like this.”
“You go as a coach and see the referee smiling and laughing with the other coach, I think it’s very very bad timing”
Tuchel disappointed by referee after Chelsea’s defeat to Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/ZzualuVqt2
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 13, 2022
Tuchel had all-but admitted defeat after Chelsea lost the first leg 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last week.
But they stormed into a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Mason Mount, Toni Rudiger and Timo Werner.
Rodrygo buried a fine volley after an even better raking pass from Luka Modric to drag Real back from the brink, however, before Benzema thumped in another powerful header to send Madrid through.
“We are very disappointed and very proud at the same time,” said Tuchel.
“We played a fantastic match, we deserved what we had, four goals and we had big chances to score even more.
“We were unlucky and that’s why we’re disappointed.
“We were beaten by pure individual quality and two mistakes after ball wins, which are the most crucial moments against Real Madrid.
“In the end we were unlucky, we deserved to go through after this performance today but it was not meant to be. Luck was not on our side and you always need luck.”
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