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Tuchel faces FA probe after criticising referee

Thomas Tuchel is being investigated by the English Football Association (FA) over comments he made regarding referee Anthony Taylor after Chelsea’s 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Sunday.

The Chelsea head coach suggested “maybe it would be better” if Taylor didn’t referee matches involving his team in the future as he vented his fury over how both Spurs goals were allowed to stand at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea were leading 1-0 when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fired home an equaliser in a move which began with what appeared to be a foul by Rodrigo Bentancur on Kai Havertz.

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Reece James restored the home side’s lead with 13 minutes remaining but deep into stoppage time, Cristian Romero escaped punishment as he pulled Marc Cucurella back by his hair as the pair jostled from a corner.

And when play restarted, Harry Kane nodded in substitute Ivan Perisic‘s 96th-minute corner to salvage a point. Both Tottenham goals triggered angry clashes between Tuchel and his Spurs counterpart Antonio Conte. Taylor showed both managers the red card at full-time and therefore each will receive a one-game touchline ban as things stand.

Both Conte and Tuchel have been charged by the FA for improper conduct and have until Thursday to respond to the charges.

The FA said in a statement: “It is alleged that the behaviour of both managers was improper following the end of the fixture.”

In addition to the one-game ban for the red card, Tuchel could yet face further sanction after he fumed at Taylor, appearing to endorse a fan-led petition — which had more than 90,000 signatures on Monday morning despite only being setup just after the full-time whistle on Sunday.

“I don’t think just some of the fans think that,” Tuchel said. “I can assure you the whole dressing room of us, every single person, thinks that.

“I can’t understand how the first goal is not offside and I can’t understand when a player is pulled by their hair, the other player stays on the pitch.

“Pull someone else’s hair, stay on the pitch and attack the last corner. This is for me without any explanation and I don’t want to accept it. Both goals should not stand and it’s a fair result because we were brilliant, deserved to win. This is my point of view.”

Pushed on whether the players were worried about Taylor being in charge of their games, Tuchel said “yeah, of course” before responding to a suggestion he should not officiate their matches.

“Maybe it would be better,” continued Tuchel as he turned his attention to the game’s VAR, Mike Dean.

“Maybe it would be better. But honestly, we also have VAR to help make the right decision. Since when can players be pulled by hair? Since when is that [not a foul]? If he does not see it, I do not blame him. I didn’t see it.

“But we have people at VAR who check this. Then you see it and how can this not be a free-kick and a red card? This doesn’t even had to do with the referee in this case. If he does not see something, that’s why we have people to check if there is a decisive error going on.”

The FA will now investigate Tuchel’s comments while both clubs are waiting to learn whether they will face separate punishments for the clashes between the managers, which sparked melees involving players and staff from both sides.

Chelsea’s frustrations with Taylor date back several years. He allowed Manchester United captain Harry Maguire to escape punishment for kicking Michy Batshuayi in a Premier League game during February 2020, a judgement then boss Frank Lampard described as “a wrong decision, everyone I’ve spoken to has said the same.”

Taylor sent off Mateo Kovacic in the FA Cup final against Arsenal later that year, three years after allowing Alexis Sanchez‘s goal to stand in the 2017 showpiece despite complaints of a handball in the build-up.

In August last year, Tuchel criticised Taylor’s approach in deciding to send off James for handball in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.

“I can understand the decision and I’m not saying it’s wrong,” he said at the time. “But I did not like the way the referee checked it because for me he checked only the image and the image showed the contact.”

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