Thomas Tuchel has criticised the Chelsea fans who interrupted a moment of applause for Ukraine by singing about their billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
“It’s not the moment to do this,” the Chelsea manager said of the chants that were heard from a significant contingent of the travelling support before the Premier League game against Burnley. “If we show solidarity, we should show solidarity together.”
The gesture, which was met by boos from the Burnley fans, marred a planned minute’s applause for the Ukrainian people and felt particularly provocative given that the Chelsea owner has as yet failed to condemn Vladimir Putin for his expansionist war in Ukraine.
Tuchel did not hesitate to condemn the singing, calling for Chelsea fans to show more respect in such situations. “We take the knee together, if a person from our club dies we show respect,” he said. “It’s not a moment to give other messages.
“We also do this because of what we are as a club. We show respect, and we need our fans to commit to this minute of applause in the moment. We do it for the people of Ukraine and there is no second opinion about the situation. They have our thoughts and our support and we should stand together as a club.”
Of some consolation to Tuchel was the fact that a turbulent week, in which Abramovich announced his intention to sell the club following defeat in the Carabao Cup final, has ended with progress in the FA Cup against Luton and this 4-0 win over Burnley.
“It shows a lot of character,” he said of his players’ response. “It shows the guys have what it takes to play for Chelsea and we have the environment to focus on football, because we are allowed to focus on football. The team did very well and we kept on believing.”
Three Chelsea goals in the space of eight minutes after half-time wrapped up the game and Sean Dyche lamented his team’s collapse after a promising start. “It’s the madness of football,” he said. “Conceding doesn’t mean you have to stop what you’re doing.
“We opened up too quickly, we stopped doing all the basic principles, lost out physically in a couple of challenges, and got punished by a group of very talented players.”