Chelsea FC boss Thomas Tuchel dismisses talk of referee bias against Real Madrid over Super League breakaway

James Robson
·2-min read
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel has dismissed any concerns about the referee for Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid after Spanish media repeatedly raised the prospect of Zinedine Zidane’s side being punished for their involvement in the failed European Super League.

Chelsea were also among the 12 teams planning to join the widely-condemned breakaway competition before quickly backing down and severing ties.

But Real are yet to announce their withdrawal, with their president, Florentino Perez, still chairman of the Super League.

Zidane’s pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s clash saw him face questions over his confidence in the referee, Danny Makkelie from Holland.

He described the issue as “another obsession in this game,” but was diplomatic when adding: “It all depends on what happens on the pitch. The answer is the referee will do his job as usual and we need to play football. If we think about anything they say that could damage us then it is going to be complicated. It will be a mess.

“We have to think about tomorrow’s match, play our match, the referees will do their job, we have to play from minute one until minute 90.”

Tuchel was also asked by the Spanish media about the referee and dismissed any suggestion that Real would be punished on the pitch.

“I trust 100 per cent in the referee and in UEFA and in the competition,” he said. “I trust 100 per cent in any referee UEFA sends on this level. We need the best referees, because it’s very, very difficult.

“And I trust 100 percent that the referee will try to whistle the best match possible.

“I do not imagine that there is any advantage or disadvantage because of a sports political discussion.

“I don’t even want to think about it, because it does not exist in my eyes.”

Zidane has claimed it would be absurd for Real to be expelled from the Champions League for their involvement in the Super League – and Tuchel backed up his counterpart.

He added: “We deserve to be in the semi-final like Real Madrid. And we don’t deserve it because of political decisions, or influence, or size or nice shirts, we deserve it because we came a long way.

“Obviously I was part of it since the knockout phase. And all teams have come a long way, they have fought their way through on sporting results, in the toughest competition in Europe.

“So of course we deserve to play the semi-final.

“If a problem exist on a sports political level then it has to be solved on this level, not during a competition which is not affected.

“Right now we deserve through the competition to be there.

“That’s why we are full of confidence and looking forward to playing these matches on the highest level because that’s what we all dream about when we are kids.”

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