Champions League

Thomas Tuchel irked by referee 'smiling & laughing' with Carlo Ancelotti after Champions League exit

Krishan Davis
Tuchel confronted the referee at full-time
Tuchel confronted the referee at full-time / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages
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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has accused referee Szymon Marciniak of 'smiling and laughing' with Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti following the Blues' Champions League exit on Tuesday night.

Tuchel's side dramatically overturned a two-goal first leg aggregate deficit to lead Los Blancos at the Bernabeu late in normal time, courtesy of goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner.

However, after Rodrygo's sublime late volley had pegged them back, an extra-time header from Karim Benzema - his fourth goal of the tie - turned the tide in Real's favour and they were able to hold out for a narrow 4-3 aggregate victory.

Speaking after the match, Tuchel expressed his disappointment at seeing referee Marciniak 'smiling and laughing' with Real boss Ancelotti after the full-time whistle.

“I was disappointed that the referee had a good time with Carlo,” Tuchel explained. “When I wanted to go and say thank you, he was smiling and laughing with the opponent's coach.

“I think this is the very wrong time to do this after the final whistle, 126 minutes of a team giving their heart. When you go and see a referee smiling and laughing with the other coach, it is bad timing. I told him this.”

The German coach was also frustrated by the official's decision not to go to the monitor to double-check a disallowed Marcos Alonso goal, with the Spaniard's rasping drive ruled out for a dubious handball.

He added: “I’m very disappointed for the referee that he did not check [the disallowed Alonso goal]... but that’s what you get when you play Real Madrid in the Champions League.”

Tuchel admitted that both individual quality and mistakes had cost Chelsea over the two legs.

"We are very disappointed and very proud at the same time," he continued. "We played a fantastic match. We deserved what we had. We scored four goals, we had big chances to score more. We were unlucky. We got beaten by pure individual quality and offensive conversion.

"We had two mistakes after ball wins, the most crucial moments in games against Real Madrid. We deserved to go through after this performance, but it was not meant to be. You need luck in games like this and it was not on our side.

"They did not create a lot at Stamford Bridge, but they took every half chance. You have to reduce your mistakes and we could not reduce it to an absolute minimum over the two legs. But there are no regrets. These are the kind of defeats you can take with pride and accept as a sportsman."


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