Thomas Tuchel lashed out at referee Szymon Marciniak for “laughing and smiling” with Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti as Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League and questioned whether officials have the “courage” to make key calls against the LaLiga giants.
Chelsea’s defence of their Champions League crown ended at the quarterfinal stage on Tuesday despite winning the second leg 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu, losing 5-4 on aggregate.
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Trailing 3-1 from last week’s first leg, Chelsea forced extra time as goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner put them up 3-0 before substitute Rodrygo kept the tie alive and Karim Benzema struck the decisive blow in extra time.
Tuchel was seen angrily remonstrating with the officials at full-time and when asked what had upset him, the 48-year-old said: “I was disappointed at the referee.
“He had a good time with my colleague Carlo Ancelotti, who is a gentleman and a nice guy, but when I wanted to go and say ‘thank you for the match,’ I see him laughing, smiling, and laughing loud with the opponent’s coach. I think this is the very, very wrong time to do this after the final whistle, after 126 minutes with one team giving their heart and fighting to the very last drop.
“To go as a coach and see the referee laughing and smiling with the other coach I think is very, very bad timing and I told him this. That was it.”
Chelsea were aggrieved that Marcos Alonso had a second-half goal disallowed at 2-0 for a handball decision awarded on VAR review, a decision Marciniak did not review pitchside.
“Sometime now maybe I get problems,” Tuchel continued. “If you play against Real Madrid, you can maybe not expect that everybody has the courage.
“I felt little decisions also in the first leg and the second leg today as well [went against us]. I did not see the goal, but I told him I’m super disappointed that he does not come out and check it on his own.
“In a match like this where you have a certain line to whistle, you should stay the boss and not give decisions like this to somebody in a chair who is isolated from the atmosphere and from the way. The referee has a certain style, things he allows and doesn’t allow, he follows a certain line so I think he should stay in charge and check it on his own, then he could also explain it better.
“But this is just my opinion. We deserve more, but in the end we felt we had more minutes to play in the second half of the extra time. 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.”