Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel left stunned after claiming VAR did NOT check Sadio Mane’s controversial elbow on Cesar Azpilicueta for a red card, and that the Liverpool forward was fortunate not to be sent off
- Thomas Tuchel believed Sadio Mane should have been sent off against Chelsea
- Blues boss claimed Mane’s elbow on Cesar Azpilicueta was a clear red card
- Incident occurred in just the first six seconds of Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea
Chelsea were furious with referee Anthony Taylor for his decision not to red card Sadio Mane inside just 15 seconds as Manchester City’s grip on the title tightened.
Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and boss Thomas Tuchel both criticised the official for his failure to brandish a red card after Mane appeared to catch the Chelsea captain in the face with an elbow.
The draw at Stamford Bridge means Manchester City have a 10 point lead over Chelsea in the Premier League table, though Liverpool can reduce the gap to eight if they win their game in hand.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane elbowed Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta in the opening six seconds
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel claims VAR did not even look at the decision after the challenge
Indeed, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk admitted they are now relying on an unlikely collapse from Manchester City if they are to regain the Premier League crown.
But it was Chelsea who left Stamford Bridge feeling hard done by.
‘It is a clear red, I don’t mind if it is the first five seconds of the game, it is a card,’ said Azpilicueta. He doesn’t want to challenge. He does not see the ball he just wants to hit with the elbow.
‘Today the first action is a clear red card. We are getting these decisions against us and of course they can change the game.’
Mane was booked for leading dangerously with his arm just six seconds into the match
Tuchel added: ‘They did not check it (on VAR), I hate to say it normally as I don’t like a red card early in the game, it can kill it. The public are here to see 11v11.
‘Sadio Mane should always be on the pitch because he is a brilliant player and a good guy but it is a red card.’
Both teams now face an arduous task of trying to claw back Pep Guardiola’s team, who have won 11 top-flight matches one the bounce.
And Van Dijk said: It’s never difficult to believe, it is a big gap, they [City] have the title maybe to lose at the moment but anything can happen still.
Blues stars including Cesar Azpilicueta (right) believe Mane should have been sent off
‘We have been there and gave it away, so anything is possible. We focus on ourselves, we just have to get results, play good football and win games.’
Meanwhile, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, who missed Sunday’s game after testing positive for Covid, will also miss Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final versus Arsenal.
‘He can’t because of quarantine rules. He has mild symptoms. But Jurgen is a very optimistic, positive leader, he’s our leader, our boss. I just hope it stays mild symptoms and that he’s back quick with us,’ said Klopp’s No 2 Pep Lijnders.
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