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Thomas Tuchel, Cesar Azpilicueta insist Sadio Mane elbow ‘is a clear red’

Thomas Tuchel spoke about Chelsea's title hopes and Romelu Lukaku's status after the Blues' 2-2 draw against Liverpool.

Thomas Tuchel, Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta have each revealed their disappointment over Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, believing they should have never been 2-0 down in the first place.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch: USMNT star bags Chelsea equalizer in thrilling draw ]

The result leaves Chelsea 10 points behind leaders Manchester City with 17 games left to play. Simply put, a draw wasn’t ideal for anyone, except Man City.

[ MORE: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool recap & highlights | Player ratings ]

Below is live reaction (via the BBC) from west London following Chelsea vs Liverpool, as the Blues battled back from 2-0 down but ultimately settled for another frustrating draw…

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, on Sadio Mane not being sent off for elbowing Cesar Azpilicueta in the head second after kickoff…

“If you remember the first game with the same referee and how quick he was to give a red card to us, I am not a friend of early red cards. I hate to say it because I love Mane and he is a nice guy and top player, but it is a red card. The elbow is in the face. It doesn’t matter if you do this after 20 seconds or 20 minutes.”

Thomas Tuchel, on the 2-2 draw with Liverpool and how Chelsea battled back from 2-0 down…

“Brilliant match of football, everybody not in the stadium missed something — energy, some mistakes. We started excellent and were 1-0 down out of nothing, because we did two or three big mistakes, then we concede a second one which makes the task very hard.

“The team did not give in and Mateo Kovacic’s goal brought the belief back into the stadium. There was almost the perfect comeback in the first half with a third goal on the transition.”

“You can win it anytime if you still believe and I am happy with the attitude and the quality we showed. We can still improve, we still struggled because of injuries and changes we had to make but we don’t want to be greedy. I am happy with my team.”

Chelsea and USMNT winger Christian Pulisic, on the 2-2 draw and whether Chelsea are happy with the result…

“It feels like one of those games. It was an incredible first half, you feel after we got the momentum and get back 2-2 it is a bit frustrating not to get the winner but probably a fair result in the end.

“It was strange to be down 2-0. It felt like we were in the game and playing well and kept with it and scored two. It was an exciting game for sure.”

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, on Sadio Mane not being sent off for elbowing him in the head seconds after kickoff…

“It’s a clear red. I don’t mind if it’s five second into the game [or] it’s the first action, it’s a clear red. He doesn’t want to challenge, he doesn’t see the ball. He just wants to hit [me] with the elbow. I don’t understand.”

Cesar Azpilicueta, on the state of refereeing decisions and whether or not players are being protected…

“I understand we are promoting the challenges in the Premier League — 50-50 [for] the ball — sometimes, we have seen a joke of penalties [given], and sometimes we see real, dangerous actions and we don’t take action. … We don’t see consistency in the same game, or the season. It is disappointing.”

Cesar Azpilicueta, on the gap between Chelsea and Manchester City…

“They are the ones at the top. The more points we leave behind, the happier they will be. It’s football, we know how it works. They have been setting the standard really high in the Premier League. … We need to raise our level.”

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