Thomas Tuchel discussed the seriousness of N'Golo Kante's injury and why he was such a big loss against Liverpool, as well as passing his verdict on the game's big turning point late in the first half.
Deep into first-half injury time, a VAR review by referee Anthony Taylor resulted in Reece James being shown a red card for handball and Liverpool being awarded a penalty. To make things even worse, after Mohamed Salah had equalised from the spot, N’Golo Kante was forced off with an injury during the break.
Tuchel discussed the first of those two set-backs at length, feeling the combination of the conceding a goal and going down to 10 men was particularly tough to swallow.
‘Double punishment is always super hard and it was a bit of a spoiler, but I think it’s the rule now if the referee says he denies a clear goal with his hand,’ said our head coach. ‘I don’t like these early red cards in general, not just when it’s us but when I’m watching on TV, because for me it spoils the game. Nobody wants to see that for 45 minutes, they want to see a high-level game.
‘The situation itself, I can understand the decision and I’m not saying it’s a wrong decision, but I did not like the way the referee checked it. He checked only the image which showed the contact and then it was a clear decision. On the bench we saw also the whole movement and you saw it was a deflection at short distance, it comes off his hip to his arm, the arm is not in a super unnatural arm position.
‘I have heard referees already saying this is not a punishable action. I would have wished for a longer consideration and a better view on the whole situation. Maybe he would have taken the same decision, it remains a grey situation, and I can live with it that some decisions stay in the responsibility for the referee in the moment.’
He also provided an update on Kante’s injury and explained why he was such a big loss at Anfield…
‘He is injured. He missed the Arsenal game because of some pain in the ankle and some inflammation, but it was nothing serious obviously because he was back in training and he started today
‘In winning the ball in this situation I think the opponent fell on his ankle and he twisted it again and he had immediately the same pain he had before the Arsenal game and he was lacking force to accelerate and we had to take him off.
‘Can there be any harder challenges than going one man down and taking N’Golo Kante off at the same time at half-time at Anfield and having Liverpool playing towards the Kop? It’s a pretty tough one but we did excellent and I’m super happy with how we did and we feel like we deserved a point very well.’
Tuchel went on the discuss the great form Andreas Christensen continued with another strong performance against Liverpool…
‘Andreas has been very strong for us from day one. He started in the central position and finished the game in the right position, because we decided to bring on Thiago and stay with the back five.
‘Andreas is very strong, he’s super talented. He loves Chelsea, he’s a Chelsea boy from the Academy, this has a huge impact in the moment. I think he feels the trust, he knows what to do, he can absolutely help, he’s a top defender and a top guy.
‘I have the feeling he’s growing every week in confidence and personality, which is good and he’s doing fantastic since day one and getting better and better.’