6:14 PM BST
Gab MarcottiSenior Writer, ESPN FC
Watching Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel quadrate disconnected astatine the last whistle pursuing Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Spurs connected Sunday, the caput went backmost to different handshake gone atrocious involving Conte astatine Stamford Bridge.
It was October 2016 and Conte was successful complaint of Chelsea, who had conscionable thrashed Jose Mourinho's Manchester United 4-0. Like connected Sunday, Conte was looking for a speedy shingle of the hands, thing more, and similar connected Sunday, the opposing manager wouldn't fto spell until helium had fixed him a portion of his mind. Mourinho told Conte, who had celebrated agelong and hard aft each goal, that it was inappropriate to behave similar this aft specified a large triumph -- proposal of the "act similar you've been determination before" variety.
Unlike connected Sunday, Conte simply looked nonplussed and a small confused. But it was the archetypal spark successful a what would crook into a nasty, needling feud that would degenerate into Mourinho saying helium "did not request to enactment similar a clown" connected the sideline, Conte suggesting his rival was suffering from "senile dementia" (Chelsea would aboriginal suggest helium meant "amnesia" instead), Mourinho referring to Conte's four-month prohibition for nonaccomplishment to study match-fixing (even though helium was aboriginal acquitted) and Conte saying Mourinho was "a small, tiny man."
That felt similar existent aggro -- genuine bile betwixt 2 men who don't similar each other. In wrestling parlance, this was nary work, but a genuine shoot.
Tuchel and Conte? Not truthful much, which is wherefore it would beryllium silly if the Premier League were to travel up with a touchline prohibition aft some men were sent off. It's not arsenic if their choler astatine the last whistle wasn't real, due to the fact that it was; it's conscionable that this is improbable to devolve into thing similar the Conte-Mourinho feud. It came and it went. These 2 guys are excessively laser-focused and not calculating capable to play caput games via the media oregon messiness with each other's heads. They are much alike than they attraction to admit.
It's existent that they'd gotten successful each other's faces earlier successful the game, and that Tuchel was arsenic furious astatine the officiating and gutted that his squad had conceded an wounded clip equalizer. Conte gives disconnected the content that helium treats the postgame handshake the mode helium treats the motion you mightiness nonstop astatine the doorman of a edifice arsenic you locomotion inside. Sure, it's polite and what's expected, but you don't cognize the guy, helium doesn't cognize you and heavy down, neither of you attraction if you speech nods. But that's what nine -- or, successful this case, the Premier League -- expects, truthful he'll play along. Just don't inquire him to unreal it means anything, that it has thing to bash with respect, oregon adjacent that it is someway a accidental for him and his other fig to stock a laughter and their thoughts connected the game.
That's wherever the breakdown came. Tuchel was emotional; helium had things to get disconnected his thorax and felt slighted erstwhile Conte gave the astir perfunctory of shakes without adjacent looking astatine him. To Conte, it was astir going done the motions. It's not a signifier of respect erstwhile everybody does it.
Conte knows whom helium respects and whom helium doesn't. (My conjecture is helium has a ton of respect for Tuchel, some arsenic a antheral and arsenic a coach, and the question of showing it via a postgame ritual performed aft each azygous crippled doesn't adjacent transverse his mind.) As for the post-handshake melee, we tin astir apt instrumentality Conte astatine look value. He sensed aggression erstwhile Tuchel wouldn't fto spell and helium deed backmost due to the fact that erstwhile you're assertive with him, he's assertive back.
Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte admit they enjoyed their heated exchanges pursuing Chelsea's gully with Spurs.
And Tuchel? Well, he's been coiled tighter than a drum for the past six months. From Chelsea's conflict for a Champions League spot astatine the extremity of past season, to the sanctions imposed connected the club, to Roman Abramovich (and Marina Granovskaia and Bruce Buck and Petr Cech) leaving, to the uncertainty of this summer's transportation model erstwhile it's fundamentally been him and Todd Boehly moving the show, he's had a ton connected his plate, which whitethorn explicate wherefore helium looks much gaunt than usual.
(Lest we forget, Boehly -- for each his goodwill, fiscal savvy and learning-on-the-fly smarts -- is simply a feline who, until the spring, thought of a dugout chiefly arsenic a spot wherever guys successful spikes and shot caps chew gum ... that's however steep his learning curve is.) So yeah, if Tuchel does get affectional and boil implicit a little, I deliberation we tin beryllium a small spot understanding, no?
Besides, the Premier League walks a good enactment here. On the 1 hand, it wants managers to support decorum and respect. On the other, these types of flashpoints substance involvement and are portion of the show. It's not conscionable the ex-pros-turned-pundits waxing astir the passionateness of the champion league successful the world, and however superb the Premier League is arsenic it approaches its 30th day (yes, immoderate bash laic it connected a spot thick), but it's the elemental information of seeing 2 middle-aged men acting similar teens extracurricular a precocious schoolhouse creation that reminds us: For each their professionalism, these guys really, really care.
It doesn't substance that they're multimillionaires galore times implicit oregon that successful a fewer years, they'll beryllium coaching determination else. Right here, close now, they are arsenic invested arsenic immoderate of the players oregon fans. And that's what drives the show.
There's nary crushed to punish that. Both are large boys who cognize they person thing to summation from a feud. It ends here.
And if it doesn't? Well, past that's erstwhile you tin propulsion the publication astatine them. But a touchline prohibition present would simply beryllium performative from the Premier League. You could accidental it would beryllium arsenic performative arsenic a postgame handshake.