Thomas Tuchel delighted to be on the right side of VAR in West Ham win
Thomas Tuchel has admitted he was relieved to be on the safe side of a controversial VAR call in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over West Ham.
Chelsea scored what turned out to be a late winner through Kai Havertz, but West Ham went straight for the other end in stoppage time and Maxwel Cornet thundered home into an empty net after the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was left on the ground following a collision with Jarrod Bowen.
The contact was undoubtedly minimal, but VAR deemed it enough to score the goal, handing Chelsea the win in the process. For Tuchel, it looked like justice following the refereeing controversy that got him into hot water after last month’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham.
“It was a clear foul on the goalkeeper,” he said BBC Sports. “I had my doubts about the first [West Ham’s opener] – but I will not comment. Last time I was punished with huge fines. You give your opinion. You won’t be fined.”
Tuchel added during his press conference: “It worked in our favor, and there is a reason why it worked in our favor. In my opinion, it is a fault. I will not comment any more, but this what happened against Tottenham was so obvious, and I paid a lot of money to comment, so I won’t.”
West Ham boss David Moyes then described the VAR call as ‘outrageous’ and ‘rotten’, before Declan Rice took to Twitter to add: ‘It’s up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since entering the game. Shambles.”
Chelsea finished the game with 69% possession but had the same number of shots on target as their opponents as, once again, they failed to make their dominance count, but Tuchel insisted that he wasn’t particularly worried.
“[West Ham] make you underperform, make it hard to speed up the game,” he said. “If you find them, it’s in spaces that aren’t dangerous. That’s what they do. It’s hard to create half chances, deliveries and it’s almost impossible to come back when they are in front.
“We didn’t play with the greatest conviction and self-confidence given the latest results and I understand that. I wasn’t mad at our players and told them to keep believing and to find the rhythm. It’s very difficult to play a really attractive game against West Ham because they do what they do at the highest level.”