Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has lost his temper at a news conference ahead of the Blues’ FA Cup match at Luton Town, snapping at journalists after repeatedly being asked about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich has come under fire for his close ties with Vladimir Putin
- Reports this week suggested Mr Abramovich had been asked to help with negotiations between the two nations
- Tuchel said the war was “horrible” but told the journalists to stop asking him questions about it
The world of sports continued to isolate Russia after President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea last week.
Chelsea are owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who on Monday was reportedly asked by Ukraine’s government to help mediate due to his background in Russia and ties to Mr Putin.
Mr Abramovich made his fortune in the chaotic 1990s period of post-communist privatisation. He bought the club in 2003 and has overseen a rapid rise up the domestic and international ranks, including recently being crowned Club World Cup champions.
“How often do I need to say it? It’s horrible, of course, it’s horrible. There cannot be any other opinion about it,” a visibly angry Tuchel told a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s fifth-round Cup tie.
“Everybody in Europe has some noise in [their] head that nobody likes. Maybe it’s the same for you, but you still try to do your job as good as possible. It’s the same for us.”
The atmosphere became even more heated towards the end of the conference when Tuchel interrupted a journalist who tried to ask another question about “the horrors of war.”
“Listen, you have to stop,” Tuchel said. “I’m not a politician. You have to stop, honestly.
“I can only repeat [myself] and I even feel bad to repeat it because I never experienced war.
“I’m very privileged. I sit here in peace and I do the best I can but you have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers for you.”
Asked if he was worried about Chelsea’s future after Mr Abramovich gave stewardship of the club to trustees of Chelsea’s foundation last week, Tuchel said his players and management team were trying to focus on their jobs.
“We try to be calm, and we are calm in the centre of a storm or of some noise around us that we cannot control and we are not responsible for,” he said.
“In the end, it’s best to focus on what we love and what we do, and this is sports. And I think we have the right to focus on sports; the players have the right to focus [on it].
“This is what we can do for the fans: to distract them, to entertain them, and do what we do with a maximum effort and a maximum commitment.”
Chelsea travel to Championship side Luton Town for their FA Cup fifth-round tie on Wednesday.