Thomas Tuchel has insisted that owners hoping to create a European Super League care about competition after all six Premier League clubs walked away from the proposed tournament on Tuesday night.
Tuchel cut a frustrated figure after Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Brighton at Stamford Bridge, denting their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. The evening began with protests from supporters outside the ground, delaying kick-off, and took on a frantic air as it emerged that English football’s big six had performed a dramatic U-turn about taking part in the Super League.
Chelsea’s manager felt that the furore distracted his players. But while he was unhappy about repeatedly being asked about the Super League, he insisted that the people behind the project are passionate about sporting integrity.
“The owners and presidents of the clubs know this,” Tuchel said. “They love competition. They have a passion for football. Look at your owners in the Premier League, what money they invest, what teams they built. This is also because of the owners. I would like to hear the real ideas behind it and details. I did not have details. I have not read one page of it. I trust my club. I believe the owners are about competition. They made a very competitive league.”
Tuchel felt that Chelsea were distracted against Brighton. “I don’t have to prove to you that I am passionate about this game,” he said. “Everybody who works in this club loves this game. Honestly, the last two hours I did not think about Super League. I was totally into the match and now I am more disappointed we had not our best day than about any other subject, including the Super League.”
Tuchel refused to criticise the protesters outside the ground. “My message is clear,” he said. “I miss every supporter in the stadium. We had the feeling they support us and the team. This club loves competition and is a very competitive club.”
Graham Potter, Brighton’s manager, hit out at the rebel clubs. “It’s been a tough couple of days but hopefully we’re moving towards an end,” he said. “It’s sad we’re talking about these things. It was nice to see the supporters outside, even though they delayed us. The fans are supporters, not consumers.”