Thomas Tuchel was incredibly proud of his Chelsea players after their heroic Champions League elimination in Madrid, but he wasn’t so pleased with Polish referee Szymon Marciniak when the final whistle blew.
Chelsea’s reign as European champions came to an agonizing end despite beating Real Madrid on a night of high drama at the Bernabéu stadium.
In a Champions League epic, and arguably the game of the season so far, Mason Mount’s marvelous strike and Antonio Rudiger’s powerful header ended Real Madrid’s 3-1 first-leg lead. they put the tie in the quarterfinals.
Tuchel’s side were outstanding throughout and Timo Werner’s deflected shot put them ahead for the first time on aggregate and within sight of a place in the last four.
But substitute Rodrygo forced extra time with a volley before Karim Benzema, hat-trick hero in the first leg at Stamford Bridge six days ago, headed the decisive goal in the 96th minute to send Real Madrid 5- 4 overall.
And speaking at his press conference after the match, chelsea Chief Tuchel said: “We were unlucky. That is why we are disappointed. We were outclassed by individual quality and conversion. We made two mistakes, two turnovers.
“We deserved to go through after this game today. It wasn’t meant to be.
Mistakes were costly
“We have to reduce our number of errors and we couldn’t reduce them to a minimum in both legs. We had two crucial turnovers.
“There are no regrets. This is the kind of defeat you can take pride in as an athlete.
“The players followed through with the plan in a very different way to how we did against Brentford and in the first leg. This is the big difference.
“We were never shy to point out that this is the most important thing: how we live up to a tactic and perform in the structure. This was at the full limit today.
“We were very disciplined on the ball and very active and invested off the ball. We show courage and from there we show quality. This is the correct way to do it. If we have this kind of effort, we are a special team.
Tuchel angry with Polish referee
“I was disappointed that the referee had a good time with Carlo [Ancelotti].
“When I wanted to go thank him, he was smiling and laughing with the rival’s coach.
“I think this is a bad time to do this after the final whistle, 126 minutes of a team giving their heart.
“When you go and see a referee smiling and laughing with the other coach, it’s a bad moment. I told him this.
Modric’s praise for Chelsea after Real Madrid’s comeback
Meanwhile, Real Madrid legend Luka Modric praised Chelsea despite his team fending off to get through.
He said Sport: “Incredible to describe this game. We were dead until the goal we scored. Chelsea scored three goals, perhaps the first with a bit of luck from a deflection. I can’t say we played badly. They made the most of their chances and scored the goals. We did not give up. We continue to believe, fight and in the end we show great character.
⚽️ 38 goals this season
⚽️ 83 in the #UCL
⚽️ 317 for Real Madrid
Karim Benzema, a football wonder 🪄
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) April 12, 2022
“This stadium and the fans were a great help when we were down 3-0. They continued to support us and gave us a push to continue believing.
“The coach made big changes. They did well. Experience is playing an important role in this competition and I think it helped us a bit today. For me, they are the most difficult team to play against. It’s a tough, physical team. We knew it would be difficult.
“In the end we showed a lot of character, desire and unity to turn it around. A defeat that is very sweet”.
RATINGS: Chelsea heroes fall short as UCL champions dispatch Real Madrid in game of the season