Tuchel’s warning to Potter about Ancelotti as Chelsea draw Real Madrid

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Thomas Tuchel has already warned Graham Potter that Carlo Ancelotti tends to get along well with referees after voicing his disappointment following Chelsea’s loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League last year. The two clubs will face off again in the quarter-finals this season in what will be one of the biggest matches of Potter’s managerial career so far.

Chelsea were knocked out by Real in the same stage of the Champions League last season with a Karim Benzema header in extra time settling the tie. The Blues looked to be out of contention after a 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge but launched a stunning comeback at the Bernabeu to lead 4-3 on aggregate before suffering late heartbreak at the hands of Rodrygo and the Frenchman.

Then boss Tuchel voiced his frustrations after the match and Ancelotti’s relationship with referee Szymon Marciniak was one of the main reasons behind his ire. The German was unhappy that the Italian and the official appeared to share a joke straight after the full-time and Ancelotti’s gentle pitchside manner is something Potter will need to contend with during the upcoming quarter-final.

“I was disappointed that the referee had a good time with Carlo,” said Tuchel after the game. “When I wanted to go and say thank you, he was smiling and laughing with the opponent’s coach.

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“I think this is the very wrong 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 bad timing. I told him this.

“[It’s] not only today. When you play against Real Madrid, maybe you don’t expect everyone has the courage. I felt the little decisions in the first leg and today as well.

“I didn’t see the goal but I am super disappointed he didn’t come out and check it on its own. You should stay the boss and not give the decisions to someone in a chair and who is isolated.”

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The encounter in April will be one of the biggest matches in Potter’s managerial career in his first season competing at the top of European football. In contrast to Tuchel, the 47-year-old is relaxed about the prospect of coming up against Ancelotti as he relishes the challenge of coming up against the most successful manager in Champions League history.

“I’ve played against him when he was at Everton,” Potter said. “He is a gentleman and there’s nothing I can say in terms of the respect I have for what he’s achieved in his career. I think the length of time he’s had between Champions League wins – twenty years – that is incredible.”

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