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Antonio Conte snubs chance to express sympathy for ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel | Football

Antonio Conte was asked if he was shocked by Chelsea’s decision to sack Thomas Tuchel (Image: Hayters TV / Sky Sports)

Antonio Conte spurned an opportunity to express his condolences to sacked Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel following Tottenham’s Champions League win over Marseille last night.

Spurs started their European campaign with a hard-fought win over the tenacious Ligue 1 side, who eventually lost to two late Richarlison headers after staying on with 10 men after Chancel Mbemba was sent off in the 47th minute.

Conte’s post-match press conference was dominated by questions about the Brazilian’s performance but ended with a journalist asking if he was “shocked” by Tuchel’s sudden departure.

The Italian, who suffered a similar fate when his two-year tenure at Stamford Bridge was ended just two months after winning the FA Cup from Roman Abramovich in 2018, shared a frosty relationship with Tuchel that came to a boil during a troubled Londoner Derbies earlier this season.

Both managers were fined, while Tuchel was suspended for a game on the touchline after they twice clashed in a 2-2 draw that ended in a now legendary handshake.

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While the likes of Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp took pity on Tuchel, who was sacked by Todd Boehly on Wednesday morning after a brief 10-minute phone call, Conte sidestepped the issue.

He said: “Honestly, I don’t think I want to be disrespectful. I think when another club makes a decision I think it’s right not to comment because you don’t know what happened.

Tuchel is understood to have come to terms with the new regime at Chelsea after a tumultuous summer during which he was asked to take on additional responsibilities and help oversee the seismic overhaul of the club’s playing staff.

Boehly, meanwhile, is hoping to have the German’s replacement in time for Saturday’s derby against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Graham Potter was quickly identified as Chelsea’s No 1 target and after Brighton were allowed to speak to the 47-year-old, the former Swansea boss is said to have verbally accepted a contract offer.

Talks between the two clubs are set to continue on Thursday, with Chelsea said to be ready to activate Potter’s £16million release clause.

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