Sunday’s big Premier League fixture featured Chelsea hosting Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. The build-up to the game saw much expectation riding on the fixture as it was the season’s first-ever clash between two top-6 sides.
While the football surely impressed football fans thanks to an entertaining second half that saw three goals including a Harry Kane stoppage time equaliser, it was probably the action off the field that stood out from the late fixture.
Although players from either side during this fixture have engaged in heated confrontations in the past, on Sunday it was the turn of the coaches. On two separate occasions throughout the game at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte were seen squaring up to one another on the touchline.
After Hojbjerg equalised for the first time in the second half, chaos erupted on the touchline as Tuchel got into Conte’s face to protest as the German felt that there was a clear foul on Kai Havertz in the build-up to the goal.
After the coaching staff on both sides worked together to restore peace on the touchline both managers once again got into a heated exchange after the full-time whistle while giving each other the customary hand-shake. As Tuchel felt insulted by Conte who did not look him in the eye while bidding farewell, the managers were once again at each other’s throats and required referee Anthony Taylor to produce the red card to the duo to finally put an end to the ensuing dispute.
The fiery events from the dugouts surely proved to be top-tier entertainment for football fans and also matched the intensity of the football played by both Chelsea and Spurs in the second half.
While the confrontation between the coaches looked to be in danger of being interpreted as extreme behaviour from model figures in the footballing world, it looks like both managers have now moved past it and have been able to find the humour in their theatrics.
Tuchel was the first to respond as the German coach appeared to be flexing his muscles with a sly grin before beginning his post-match press conference.
“For me, it was no big deal, it was a part of it today. It boiled of course and it heated up but nothing bad. It was such an intense match. Yes (I enjoyed it) and I think he (Conte) enjoyed it as well,” revealed a light-hearted Tuchel in the presser.
It looks like the Chelsea boss has been spot on with his assessment as Conte soon after took to Instagram to show that he too managed to find the exchange to be amusing in retrospect.
Soon after Reece James put Chelsea 2-1 ahead in the second half, Tuchel was spotted wheeling away down the touchline in true Jose Mourinho style. As it came right after the confrontation with Conte perhaps it gave the German coach more impetus to celebrate and rub it in.
Conte’s Instagram story was picking on this moment from the game as he joked that the Chelsea manager was lucky that the Italian did not see the celebration appearing behind his back.
Footballers are often instructed to play with passion and leave everything on the pitch by top managers in the game but it looks like the tables were turned on Sunday as both managers gave their all during Sunday’s fixture which is bound to go down as a Premier League all-time classic.