Antonio Conte admits to enjoying touchline feud with Thomas Tuchel in high-tempered Tottenham draw at Chelsea

·4 min read
Antonio Conte admits to enjoying touchline feud with Thomas Tuchel in high-tempered Tottenham draw at Chelsea

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte admitted he enjoyed his part in a furious bust up with Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel after Harry Kane scored a last-gasp equaliser to rescue Spurs a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Both managers were shown a second yellow card after the final whistle and will serve a touchline ban for squaring up on the pitch after clashing during the post-match handshakes.

Tuchel appeared to refuse to let go of Conte's hand after the Italian had declined to make eye contact with his opposite number during the formalities.

The pair were both booked after Spurs' first equaliser through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg when Conte celebrated by running to Tuchel, but the German reciprocated with a wild run down the touchline when Reece James restored Chelsea's lead ten minutes later.

Tuchel afterwards admitted he had enjoyed the fracas and Conte said the same, before joking that next time they should not shake hands to avoid a confrontation.

“I think that what happened we did enjoy but next time we will pay more attention and don't shake the hands and we solve the problem,” the Spurs manager said. “He stays in his bench, I stay in my bench, with my staff on one side and no problem about this. It would be a pity if for this situation we miss the next game.

“It's not so important [what happened]. The most important thing is always football and to speak about the game. It was an intensive game. For us this game was really tough but you know very well that to come here and to play Chelsea away is always difficult. They have a really good team.

“The referee showed me a red card but he didn't understand the dynamic of what happened, but it's okay. I have to accept, but I repeat this is not a big problem. It's not important. The problem is between me and the other coach, not for the others.

“There is a video to understand what happened. For sure I am not passive. If I see aggressivity, then my answer is with aggressivity but I repeat this is not a problem. The most important thing is the game was a great game with two teams where there is a big rivalry.

“For us to get a point was really important. In my opinion they continue to stay up on us but before the press conference I say this season we are better than last season and I think we show this only in the difficulty that we are a tough opponent for many reasons.”

On both managers' celebrations in the second half, Conte added, with a smile: “I think the celebrations involved on both sides were really good celebrations, yes.

“The run, then the jump and you can understand about these celebrations because the feeling about us and Chelsea for this game. I think this game is an important game for both clubs. For sure for me it was important because to lose three games in a row against the same coach I don't like.

“I hate to lose and you know very well I try to transfer my mentality and my passion into my players because you can be good tactically, technically but then you need good blood in your vein to fight for something important. I think we have started a process in this aspect and today I am happy because my players wanted to stay in the game despite the difficulty of the game.”

Chelsea led through Kalidou Koulibaly's brilliant volley in the first half and both Spurs' equalisers were contentions. Hojbjerg's low strike came after Rodrigo Bentancur had appeared to foul Kai Havertz in the build up, while Cristian Romero pulled Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair ahead of Kane's goal.

A furious Tuchel took aim at the referee afterwards but Conte refused to criticise Anthony Taylor and suggested he was angry at the Chelsea boss for doing so.

“You know very well I never, never spoke about the referee decision,” Conte said. “Never, never and I continue to do this. When I see the others have this type of behaviour, it makes me a bit angry but at the same time everyone tries to do what they want, you understand? I don't want to comment on the referee but I never make a comment about the referee in England.”