Proud Tuchel talks about “special” Chelsea goals hitting “grinning” referee after brave Champions League exit

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Thomas Tuchel was incredibly proud of his Chelsea players after their heroic Champions League exit in Madrid, but not so pleased with Polish referee Szymon Marciniak at the final whistle.

Chelsea’s reign as European champions came to a painful end despite beating Real Madrid on a night of great drama at a rocking Bernabeu Stadium.

In a Champions League epic, and no doubt the game of the season so far, Mason Mount’s wonderful finish and Antonio Rudiger’s powerful header wiped out Real’s 3-1 advantage at first leg and brought a draw to the quarterfinals.

Tuchel’s team was excellent throughout, and Timo Werner’s deflected finish put them ahead for the first time overall and within sight of a spot in the final four.

But Rodrygo forced substitution into extra time with a volley finish before Karim Benzema, hat-trick hero in the first game at Stamford Bridge six days ago, headed the decisive goal in the 96th minute to send Real through 5-4 overall.

And spoke at his post-match press conference, chelsea Boss Tuchel said: “We were unlucky. That’s why we are disappointed. We were beaten by individual quality and conversion. We made two mistakes, two ball losses.

“We deserved to go through after this match today. That was not the intention.

Mistakes turned out to be costly

“We have to reduce our number of errors and we could not reduce them to a minimum over the two legs. We had two crucial ball losses.

“There are no regrets. It’s the kind of defeat you can take with pride as an athlete.

“The players lived up to the plan in a very different way, as we did against Brentford and in the first game. This is the big difference.

“We were never pale in saying 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 showed courage, and from there we showed quality. This is the right way to do it. If we have this kind of effort, we are a special team.

Tuchel angry at the Polish judge

“I was disappointed that the referee was fine with Carlo [Ancelotti].

“When I wanted to say thank you, he smiled and laughed with the opponent’s coach.

“I think it’s 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 smile and laugh with the other coach, it’s bad timing. I told him this. “

Modric praises Chelsea after Real’s comeback

Meanwhile, Real Madrid legend Luka Modric was full of praise for Chelsea despite his team fighting back to go through.

He told BT Sport: “Incredible to describe this game. We were dead until the goal we scored. Chelsea scored three goals, perhaps the first a bit lucky after a rejection. I can not say that we played badly. They used their chances well and scored the goals. We did not give up. We kept believing, fighting and eventually showed a huge character.

“This stadium and the fans were very helpful as we lost 3-0. They kept supporting us and it gave us a boost to keep believing.

“The manager made big changes. They did well. In this competition, experience plays an important role and I think it helped us a little bit today. For me, they are the hardest team to play against. They are a tough, physical team.We knew it was going to be tough.

“In the end, we showed great character, desire and unity to be able to turn it around. A defeat that is very sweet. “

MEANINGS: Chelsea heroes fall short when UCL holders send pack of Real Madrid in this season’s match

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