Hojbjerg rues ‘unnecessary’ red cards after fiery Conte-Tuchel bust-up

Both managers were shown a second yellow card for squaring up to each other as emotions spilled over during their post-match handshake, moments after Harry Kane’s contentious 96th-minute equaliser.

Tuchel refused to let go of Conte’s hand after the Italian had resolutely avoided eye contact and the pair had to be separated by staff. They were earlier booked for clashing on the touchline as Conte celebrated Spurs’ first equaliser through Hojbjerg in front of Tuchel, with Chelsea feeling the 68th-minute goal should have been disallowed for a foul on Kai Havertz by Rodrigo Bentancur and because of a Richarlison offside.

Tuchel responded by sprinting down the touchline to celebrate when Reece James restored Chelsea’s lead 10 minutes later and the German was also furious at Kane’s goal, which came after the VAR had decided not to penalise Cristian Romero for appearing to pull Marc Cucurella by the hair.

Afterwards, both coaches laughed off their clash, although Tuchel took aim at Taylor, saying it would be better if he did not officiate Chelsea games in future.

Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte were both shown red cards as sparks flew in London derby

/ AFP via Getty Images

“I think in this case the officials could have said, ‘Okay, no need for cards’ after the finish. And just leave it a bit,” Hojbjerg told Standard Sport. “It’s difficult to comment on decisions but I didn’t think it was necessary for the officials to be giving red cards after the game.”

Asked about Conte’s energy on the touchline, the Dane added: “It’s his personality and something as a player you know he brings. It’s important.”

Tuchel and Conte, who both admitted to enjoying their bust-up, are now facing touchline bans, with the Chelsea boss set to be in the stands for next weekend’s trip to Leeds and Conte the visit of Wolves.

Tuchel could face an additional charge from the FA for his post-match comments about Taylor, who has been involved in a number of controversial incidents during Chelsea matches.

The FA are investigating, and could charge the German for implying bias and bringing the game into disrepute. In April, Everton boss Frank Lampard was fined £30,000 by the FA for claiming Liverpool would have been awarded a penalty if Mohamed Salah had gone down like Anthony Gordon in the Toffees Merseyside derby defeat.

As of this morning, an online petition calling for Taylor not be given Blues games had attracted more than 80,000 signatures.

Asked if he shared the view of fans, Tuchel said: “Maybe that would be better. Maybe it would be better but we also have VAR to help make the right decisions. I can assure you that the whole dressing room, every single person thinks that [Taylor has made questionable decisions in Chelsea matches].

“I cannot understand how the first goal is not offside. And I cannot understand since when players can pull other people’s hair and stay on the pitch and attack in the last corner. This for me is without any explanation and I don’t want to accept it. I have no words for it. I am curious what the explanation is for that but both goals should not stand and then it’s a fair result. We were brilliant and we deserved to win.”

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg claimed a contentious first equaliser for Spurs at Stamford Bridge

/ Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Chelsea dominated and led through Kalidou Koulibaly’s superb volley but the result underlined Spurs’ improved squad depth as new signings Richarlison, Yves Bissouma and Ivan Perisic made an impact from the bench, with the Croatian’s corner headed home by Kane.

“If you want to be a top, top team, you have to have two players that can contribute in every position,” said Hojbjerg. “That’s what I learned when I grew up in [Bayern] Munich in my early years in professional football. They had minimum two players in every position. And it makes everyone stay on their toes.

“I think we’re in a good way but, without being too pessimistic, it’s difficult for me to celebrate a draw. But if you don’t win, they don’t win. This is something we take with us and the way we came back I thought was fantastic. And then to give the fans something to celebrate is sweet for the heart.”

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