Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel tore into Polish referee Szymon Marciniak after the Blues crashed out of the Champions League to Real Madrid in an absor
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel tore into Polish referee Szymon Marciniak after the Blues crashed out of the Champions League to Real Madrid in an absorbing contest at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night. Chelsea won 3-2 on the night but went out on 5-4 on aggregate. And Tuchel was unhappy with the match official for his “very bad” post-match conduct and also for not deciding to go to the monitor over a disallowed Marcos Alonso goal. VAR ruled out the second-half strike due to handball and Marciniak did not take a second look at the incident himself.
Tuchel declared post-match: “I like [Real Madrid boss] Carlo Ancelotti, he is a very nice man. When I went to go and shake his hand, I saw the referee smiling and laughing and with the opposition coach. This is a very bad time to do this, and I told him this.”
And the German added to BT Sport: “I didn’t see the goal that was disallowed. I’m very, very disappointed for the referee that he didn’t check it by himself. Absolutely disappointed. I had the feeling both matches that it was like 51 on the other side with all the decisions made. That’s what it is if you play Real Madrid in the Champions League. Unlucky today.”
The Chelsea manager was proud of the performances of his players in the Spanish capital nonetheless. He continued: “Always [it hurts to lose]. But these are the kind of defeats we can digest and swallow because we left nothing to regret. We left everything out there. We played what we wanted to play, we showed the quality and character that this team has. We deserved to go through. It was not meant to be today. We were simply unlucky.
“The most important was how we played and how much the players lived up to the tactics and how lively they played and how much discipline they showed, how much they invested. This was up to the fullest. The full credit is for the players. It’s not easy to come here. You need to score, you need to win. To do it over the 90 minutes, simply unlucky not to go through.
“There’s nothing to regret. We had a huge deficit to overcome because we did big mistakes in the first leg. Unfortunately today also both goals come from big mistakes in the build-up. They took advantage of the mistakes with individual quality. That was enough because over the two legs we did too many of these big mistakes.”
Chelsea led 3-0 at the Bernabeu on 75 minutes after Timo Werner added to Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger’s goals in the Spanish capital shortly after Alonso’s chalked-off strike. That saw Chelsea leading 4-3 on aggregate after a 3-1 defeat to Stamford Bridge a week earlier. Yet Rodrygo then levelled just five minutes later to bring the 13-time European Cup winners level.
And Karim Benzema scored his fourth goal of the tie, after his first-leg hat-trick in London, with a header in the sixth minute of extra-time. Despite late chances, Chelsea could not draw level and the European champions sunk to the turf after the full-time whistle confirmed their demise despite their best efforts.
Goalscorer Rudiger meanwhile told BT Sport that the “individual class” of Luka Modric and Benzema was crucial. He said: “The positive is we didn’t give up. Not many teams can come here and dominate them as we did. But over the two legs if you make the mistakes we did, you get punished.
“That was the game plan, to find our No 10s with Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] and Mason between Casemiro and the defence. We got the goal and we controlled, we didn’t panic. We did it quite well and in the second half we scored goals and did everything we could.
“Over the two legs if you make these kind of mistakes you get punished. It was a do or die for us. Before the game not everybody thought we could get to 3-0 but then the individual class comes to light with Modric and Benzema. Now we are here.”