Antonio Conte was left stunned by the decision to rule out Harry Kane’s goal at Chelsea before Tottenham succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge – the Italian’s first league defeat in charge of Spurs.
Second-half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva saw Chelsea finally make their dominance count as Thomas Tuchel’s side ended a four-game winless run in the Premier League to consolidate their position in the top four.
But Spurs felt they should have been ahead at the break when Kane tucked a shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga at the end of a rare counter, only for referee Paul Tierney to disallow the effort for a shove on Chelsea defender Thiago Silva in the build-up.
„In the first half the referee disallowed a goal, I was very clear with him in a polite way, but to see this type of goal disallowed in England was incredible,“ Conte said in his post-match press conference. „Maybe in Italy it was 50-50, but in England it was incredible.
„What also hurt me a lot was the yellow card to (Japhet) Tanganga. It can seem a stupid thing, but the yellow card changed the game for him and also meant we had to substitute him. The referee tried to make the best decision, it could be good or bad.“
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel was surprised to see Kane’s effort ruled out, despite not seeing the incident in real time. „I didn’t see it, actually,“ he said. „I thought it was a goal and then I was surprised, but I did not see it.“
Sky Sports co-commentator Gary Neville disagreed with the decision, labelling Silva a „lucky boy“, but there was no consensus in the Super Sunday studio, where pundits Roy Keane and Jamie Redknapp supported referee Tierney’s decision.
„Believe it or not, Gary Neville is wrong!“ Keane said. „When you are running at that pace, Kane does just lean into Silva and I think the referee has made the right decision.“
Redknapp added: „I think it’s enough of a foul. Silva is so cute with the way he does it, he accentuates the push, goes over. There’s not a whole lot in it, but he made it look a foul and that’s why the referee gave it.“
Tuchel calls for calm after object thrown at Rudiger
Chelsea boss Tuchel urged football fans to curb their risky behaviour to protect English football’s „unique atmosphere“.
The German’s comments came after Antonio Rudiger was struck by a lighter thrown from the away end at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel released a message this week after the Blues beefed up security and rules after several recent pitch invasions. After Rudiger was hit by an object thrown from the crowd, Tuchel admitted English football needed to safeguard its interaction between players, coaches and fans.
Asked if recent events had him concerned, Tuchel replied: „I’m not worried, but you are right, I sent the message to our fans – support us, we love to [have] them close to the pitch, we love a brilliant atmosphere [and] that they are not behind fences or nets.
„From there everybody needs to show respect. But in general I’m not concerned. Right now I enjoy the atmosphere. If this is a new trend we need to act together to make sure that it stops as soon as possible, to protect the fantastic environment and unique atmosphere of England.“
On Rudiger being struck, Tuchel added: „I just heard it some minutes ago, I was actually not aware of all this during the match. I think it was during a corner or around the corner, but I have zero information on that.“
Tuchel: One of Ziyech’s best matches
Chelsea were inspired to victory by Ziyech’s stunning long-range curler, which the Morocco international rated as „10 out of 10“.
Ziyech’s performance was just as good as his goal according to Tuchel, who added: „It was a very nice goal actually, the build-up was good, the movement was brilliant.
„And I’m very happy because he deserves it. It was a very important goal. So, well done. This was absolutely one of his best matches today, he was very reliable.“