Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte have been charged by The Football Association (FA) after their heated confrontation at the end of Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday.

The two head coaches appeared to be antagonising one another during the second half of the dramatic Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge.

On the final whistle, shortly after Harry Kane headed in Spurs' equaliser, Tuchel and Conte shook hands, with the Chelsea boss pulling the Italian back when he did not make eye contact.

This sparked further words being said and several backroom staff from both teams having to separate the two, which resulted in Tuchel and Conte being shown red cards by referee Anthony Taylor.

The FA said in a statement on Monday: "Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte have both been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3, following the Premier League fixture between Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC on Sunday 14 August 2022.

"It is alleged that the behaviour of both managers was improper following the end of the fixture.

"Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte have until Thursday 18 August 2022 to provide their respective responses."

Spurs boss Conte appeared to fan the flames further on Sunday when he took to Instagram to post a story of Tuchel running down the sideline in front of him while celebrating Reece James' goal to make it 2-1 to Chelsea, captioning it: "Lucky I didn't see you… making you trip over would have been well deserved" followed by three laughing emojis.

Stats Perform also understands The FA is looking into Tuchel's post-game comments about referee Taylor, whose performance he criticised.

The FA's investigation will focus on whether Tuchel has brought the game into "disrepute" by implying bias or attacking the integrity of a referee.

Thomas Tuchel's post-match comments about referee Anthony Taylor following Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Tottenham are under investigation by the Football Association (FA).

Tuchel was furious at some of the decisions made by Taylor during the feisty stalemate at Stamford Bridge, a game that saw tensions boil over.

The German suggested Spurs' first goal should have been disallowed due to the offside Richarlison standing in Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy's line of sight, and then he felt aggrieved over the visitors' second equaliser due to two incidents.

Firstly, he felt Kai Havertz was fouled by Rodrigo Bentancur in the build-up to the corner that Harry Kane ultimately headed home from, and at the same set-piece Cristian Romero avoided being penalised for pulling Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair.

Tuchel and Spurs coach Antonio Conte clashed during and after the game, with their second confrontation resulting in both bosses being shown red cards.

This was a particular bone of contention for Tuchel, who sarcastically said: "I cannot coach but the referee can whistle the next game? Good."

Chelsea fans have voiced their displeasure with Taylor before, but Tuchel went even further when asked about the supporters' concerns, as he suggested "the whole dressing room of us, every person thinks that."

He was then pushed on whether the players are worried when Taylor is the official in charge, and he added: "Yeah, of course."

Stats Perform understands the FA is already looking into Tuchel's comments, meaning disciplinary action could be forthcoming.

The FA's investigation will focus on whether Tuchel has brought the game into "disrepute" by implying bias or attacking the integrity of a referee.

 

In the wake of Tottenham's last-gasp 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Sunday, Spurs boss Antonio Conte poked fun at the situation after both he and Thomas Tuchel were shown red cards.

The game featured a number of twists and turns, with Chelsea feeling they had won the game when Reece James put them 2-1 ahead in the 77th minute, only for Tottenham to snatch a point deep into stoppage time through a Harry Kane equaliser.

After the final whistle sounded and the managers came together to shake hands, Tuchel refused to let go, indicating he did not appreciate Conte's lack of eye-contact, sparking an exchange where the pair had to be separated, and both were shown red cards.

When queried about the altercation after the game, Tuchel insisted that "it's between two competitors and nothing bad happened" and implied things were being blown out of proportion.

Conte said he believes the video of the situation exonerates him from any blame, and even implied the next time these sides meet there may not be a handshake, saying "next time we will pay more attention and don't shake the hands and we solve the problem… he stays in his bench, I stay in my bench, with my staff on one side and no problem about this."

He added: "For sure I am not passive. If I see aggressivity, then my answer is with aggressivity, but I repeat this is not a problem."

In the hours after the match, Conte took to Instagram to post a story of Tuchel running down the sideline while celebrating James' go-ahead goal to make light of the situation, captioning it: "Lucky I didn't see you… making you trip over would have been well deserved" followed by three laughing smiley faces, indicating it is meant with a tongue-in-cheek tone.

Chelsea will make the trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the return fixture on February 25.

Thomas Tuchel does not want referee Anthony Taylor to officiate a Chelsea game again, with the Blues boss left furious after his side's 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

An ill-tempered encounter at Stamford Bridge looked set for a victory for the hosts after goals for Kalidou Koulibaly and Reece James, despite Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's response.

But a last-gasp Harry Kane header earned a draw for Spurs, with the full-time whistle marked by an aggressive confrontation between Tuchel and opposite number Antonio Conte.

Both men were shown red cards by Taylor, but much of the German's ire stemmed from his belief that the referee failed to spot a number of incidents, including an alleged offside before Tottenham's first goal and an apparent foul on Marc Cucurella by Cristian Romero prior to the late equaliser.

Speaking after the game, Tuchel suggested it was far from an isolated number of Chelsea fans who felt Taylor made mistakes during their matches.

"I don't think just some of the fans think that," he stated. "I can assure you the whole dressing room of us, every single person, thinks that. 

"I can't understand how the first goal is not offside and I can't understand how when a player is pulled by their hair, the other player stays on the pitch."

Asked whether he would prefer Taylor not to oversee Chelsea's matches, Tuchel concurred, though he also pointed to the VAR official as equally culpable for the decision-making process.

"Maybe it would be better, maybe it would be better," he added. "But honestly we also have VAR, to help make the right decisions.

"Since when can players have their hair pulled, since when is that? And if he does not see it I don't blame him – I didn't see it.

"We have people at VAR who check this, and then you see it. And how can this not be a free-kick, and then a red card? How?

"This does not even have to do with the referee in this case. If he does not see something that's why we have people to check if this is a decisive error or not."

Tuchel failed to spot his own post-game dismissal for his part in the fracas with Conte, and made clear his displeasure that he faces a touchline ban, adding sarcastically: "So good - I cannot coach but the referee can whistle the next game."

Thomas Tuchel was furious with the officials after Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Tottenham as he suggested both Spurs goals should have been disallowed.

Chelsea were dominant for much of their first home game of the season, twice taking the lead through Kalidou Koulibaly's stunning volley and Reece James' well-worked goal.

But Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg got Spurs' initial equaliser and Harry Kane saw his stoppage-time header find the net via a deflection off James to rescue a point for the visitors.

Tuchel, who twice clashed with Spurs boss Antonio Conte during an ill-tempered affair, thinks neither goal should have stood.

The German was adamant the offside Richarlison interfered with Edouard Mendy's line of sight for the first leveller, while Chelsea were also furious to see Kai Havertz denied a free-kick earlier in the build-up.

Later on, Cristian Romero avoided being penalised despite pulling Marc Cucurella to the floor by his hair as Kane's header earned Spurs a draw.

Tuchel's frustration was plain to see as he spoke to Sky Sports, even if he applauded Chelsea's general performance.

"We were brilliant, we were absolutely brilliant," he said. "Sorry I have to say but both goals cannot stand, absolutely cannot stand.

 

"There's only one team who deserves to win and it's us, we were absolutely brilliant and sorry for my team that they didn't get what they deserved.

"It's a clear foul on Kai Havertz in the build-up [to the first goal], a clear foul. We had one tactical foul from Reece James and he got a yellow.

"I don't know how many tactical fouls Hojbjerg and [Rodrigo] Bentancur did, nothing happened.

"Clear foul on Havertz. Okay, the situation goes on and on and on, then it's a clear offside from Richarlison, he's in the line of the shot, he even goes to the ball, he doesn't touch the ball and Edou cannot see the ball.

"It's a clear offside, and since when can you pull hair on a football field?"

While Kane did not specifically address the controversy surrounding Spurs' goals, he accepted they were fortunate to leave Stamford Bridge with a point.

"Overall we probably didn't deserve a point from the game but we dug deep, we stuck in there, we fought until the end," he told BBC Sport.

"Credit to the boys, we had that last chance at the end there and managed to take it. Still, there's stuff to work on, but an important point away from home."

Antonio Conte says Tottenham need to improve further if they are to reach Chelsea's level after a fiery 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg cancelled out Kalidou Koulibaly's superb opener for the Blues, but Thomas Tuchel's men restored their lead when Reece James burst through to score.

A dramatic conclusion followed though, as Harry Kane was on hand to head home in the 96th minute and spark wild celebrations from Conte, before both he and Tuchel were promptly sent off amid a touchline clash.

That followed an earlier argument between the pair after Hojbjerg's strike, with Tuchel furious the goal had not been ruled out for offside against Richarlison.

The result meant Tottenham have won just one of their last 38 away matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D13 L24), a 3-1 win in April 2018 in the Premier League.

Conte did not want to discuss the specifics of his clash with Tuchel, instead choosing to highlight that his side needs to improve if they are to enjoy the kind of success Chelsea have in recent seasons.

"It's not so important [the clash with Tuchel]," he said in a press conference.

"The most important thing is football and to speak about football. It was an intensive game. This game was really tough for us. You know that they are a really good team here.

"I have to be honest, today Chelsea were better than us. Compared to last season we did better, but if we want to create problems for Chelsea [in the table] we have to be better.

"We can do better, but at the same time we scored twice. In the last three games [against Chelsea] we didn't score.

"We got a point and we showed, in my opinion, character and personality and my players wanted to stay in the game. We can do better."

Tuchel and Conte have both received a card in three different Premier League games since the start of last season, the most of any two managers in the competition.

The Italian, however, rejected suggestions that he can go overboard on the touchline, and believes Spurs fans want to see that he cares.

"You have to show passion every time because the result can be positive or negative but you have to love your job and your work and show your passion," he added.

"If the fans see this, it's good. You can take big achievements if you have a big passion in your job.

"You can understand the situation. I think this game is an important game for both clubs."

Thomas Tuchel has played down his clash with opposite number Antonio Conte at the end of Chelsea's thrilling 2-2 draw with Tottenham, describing the melee as natural at the end of an "emotional" match.

Chelsea twice led Spurs in an absorbing London derby on Sunday, opening the scoring through Kalidou Koulibaly's stunning volley and responding to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's equaliser by going 2-1 ahead through Reece James.

But Harry Kane's 96th-minute header saw Conte snatch a point on his return to Stamford Bridge, causing chaotic scenes on the touchline as the two coaches were given red cards after clashing over a post-match handshake.

Tuchel and Conte have now both received a card in three separate Premier League games since the start of last season, more than any other managers in the competition. 

But Tuchel told Sky Sports such incidents are to be expected between top competitors, saying: "When you shake hands I thought we look into each others' eyes but Antonio had a different opinion… it was emotional.

"He was happy when they equalised and then it got a bit heated but nothing big. We both got a red card? I think it was not necessary. But a lot of things were not necessary, so that's another poor decision from the referee today.

"It's emotional. You like it. We don't need comments now, and it being heated up and heated up.

"Just look at it. It's the Premier League, it's the game. You love it, no? We love it. We are emotional coaches."

Asked whether he would seek Conte out to apologise for his role in the confrontation, Tuchel was non-committal, adding: "If we meet, we meet, If not, then not. It's not a problem, it's over a football match.

"Come on guys, it's between two competitors and nothing bad happened."

Tuchel celebrated by racing down the touchline in jubilant fashion when James re-established Chelsea's lead with 13 minutes remaining, and admits his actions may have played some role in causing the scenes witnessed at full-time.

"In the middle of it I thought I should not do this but sometimes a match gets you totally, this match sucked me in," he smiled. 

"It was a brilliant effort after an undeserved equaliser. It was pure joy, and it may offend the opposition but they did the same when they equalised."

London derbies between Chelsea and Tottenham hold special reverence in the eyes of many neutrals because it's so synonymous with controversy, drama and – arguably above all else – aggro.

If Todd Boehly never attends another match at Stamford Bridge, he'll be safe in the knowledge that this contest had more than enough drama than 99 per cent of other Chelsea games.

Chelsea's new owner was attending his first home game since the pre-season takeover, and he was treated to an absolute thriller – though he'll ultimately have been frustrated by the Blues' inability to claim all three points as Spurs somehow stole a draw.

But the result, a 2-2 tie, only tells half the story of a gripping contest.

Of course, reminders of the respective situations of the clubs over the past few months was difficult to avoid in the build-up, with even Thomas Tuchel alluding to it in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

While Spurs made some key signings in January, finished the season well and then quickly went about more impressive transfer business in pre-season, Chelsea have had to contend with rather more uncertainty.

After being impacted by the United Kingdom's sanctions against Russian individuals and companies, which of course included then-owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea couldn't even sell club merchandise to fans.

The £4.25billion takeover by the consortium led by Boehly ushered in a new era, but even then it's difficult to say it's all been plain-sailing since – the American and his partners have ripped up the club's hierarchy and he's made himself interim sporting director, and his movements in the market have attracted ridicule.

From missing out on a host of key targets to spending £62million on Marc Cucurella, they've hardly emitted an aura stability.

Fitting, then, that Chelsea fans welcomed Boehly to the Bridge on Sunday with a Madness-inspired tifo. An adapted display of the band's iconic One Step Beyond album cover – of which the title song is widely associated with the Blues – was unfurled depicting Boehly and his counterparts, and below it a second banner read 'Welcome to the House of Fun'.

Its message rang true as well. While Chelsea may not have beaten their visitors, there was a lot to like about the Blues' performance, and fun it certainly was.

Chelsea were particularly dominant in a first half that saw their intensity and fluidity suffocate Spurs at times. Mason Mount's roaming caused no end of problems, while the movement of Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz helped ensure the visitors' midfield was forced to sit especially deep.

Then, behind them, Jorginho was at the top of his game, pulling the strings and helping to keep the hosts on the front foot with his expertise in such controlling roles.

As a result, Spurs struggled to gain a foothold in midfield and the front three were anonymous, which proved particularly problematic after Chelsea took a 19th-minute lead.

As if it was written, in front of the man responsible for buying them, two new signings combined for the first Stamford Bridge goal of the new era – and what a goal it was.

Cucurella's outswinging corner picked out Kalidou Koulibaly in space at the back of the area and the centre-back met it with an outrageous volley that spun off his foot and flew past the helpless Hugo Lloris.

Chelsea's issue was building on that lead. Dominant they remained until the second half, but another goal proved elusive and Spurs grew in prominence.

First, Edouard Mendy denied Son Heung-min just after the break, and then Harry Kane – without a goal in his previous five Premier League clashes with Chelsea – missed the target with only the goalkeeper to beat.

A pot shot from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg proved just the ticket, however. Jorginho, who until then was exceptional, was guilty of over-playing in his own box, and within seconds Spurs' Danish midfielder drilled into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards.

That seemed to bring everything to life. Immediately Conte's roaring celebration towards the Chelsea bench sparked a furious clash between the two sets of staff, with the Italian and Tuchel – who was angry with the failure to award the Blues a free-kick in the build-up – grappling with each other.

The spirit of the famous 2016 Battle of the Bridge had been mostly absent, but that moment showed it was merely looming in the shadows, waiting, and it made what Chelsea thought was the winner even sweeter for Tuchel.

Evoking memories of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford while in charge of Porto, Tuchel hurtled down the touchline – right past Conte – after Reece James beat Lloris for his strike in the 77th minute.

Chelsea were in control again and seemed to be heading for the win, but right at the end of stoppage time a glancing Kane header was diverted in by James, rescuing a well-earned – if fortuitous – point.

While the football ceased with the full-time whistle, the action did not. Tuchel refused to let go of Conte as they shook hands, sparking another melee as both bosses were ultimately shown red cards.

This occasion may not have had the 12 yellow cards of the first Battle of the Bridge, but the amusing petulance and antagonising went some way to filling that void, with Boehly truly given a fitting welcome to the House of Fun.

Harry Kane scored a dramatic 96th-minute equaliser as Tottenham twice came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw in an ill-tempered London derby against Chelsea.

Antonio Conte had twice looked set to finish empty handed on his Stamford Bridge return, with Kalidou Koulibaly opening the scoring with a sumptuous volley on his home debut for Chelsea early on.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg levelled with a long-range strike in the second half, but Chelsea again looked to be on course for the win when Reece James side-footed home after racing onto Raheem Sterling's pass.

But Kane was on hand to head home from a late corner and spark wild celebrations from Conte, who was promptly sent off amid a touchline clash as Spurs claimed a potentially vital point from a trip to a likely rival for Champions League qualification.

Thomas Tuchel was prepared to give Romelu Lukaku another chance to be a success at Chelsea and accepted responsibility for his "disappointing" return.

Chelsea forked out a club-record £97.5million to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge for a second stint last August, after a season in which his 24 goals helped fire Inter to the Serie A title.

But the move did not work out for Chelsea or Lukaku, who earned the ire of boss Tuchel over an unauthorised interview given to Sky Italia in which he aired his displeasure at the system being used and spoke of a desire to one day return to Inter.

That wish has since been granted, with Chelsea agreeing to allow Lukaku to re-join Inter on loan after he managed just eight Premier League goals last season.

Lukaku gave a timely reminder of his quality with a goal 82 seconds into his second Inter debut in a 2-1 win over Lecce on Saturday.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Tuchel conceded there were regrets over how things panned out with Lukaku.

"Yes, we should all be honest that it was disappointing, but also for myself and my terms of performance," he said.

"I'm far away from pointing the finger at Rom, but he was disappointed, I was disappointed. 

"It's on me to find the structure, to build an environment to make the player confident and bring the very best out of him.

"This is why I'm here, I'm serving the players, not the other way around. I did not succeed, which does not make me happy.

"I was ready to give it another try, Romelu decided differently and expressed his wish to go back.

"The owners decided in the end to agree to his wish, so we have to find more solutions."

The Blues lost another forward when Timo Werner was allowed to return to RB Leipzig in a permanent deal.

Tuchel believes Raheem Sterling, signed from top-flight rivals Manchester City, could be the man to provide the goal threat and thought he showed signs of his potential in a 1-0 win over Everton.

"He's good, he brings intensity, repetitive intensity, a very humble approach to his game, he finds speed and he finds work-rate," Tuchel said.

"You saw this at Everton, which was a very close game and maybe not the biggest physical game, but he found his work-rate. 

"He's determined to end up in the box, he's a huge player for us and a huge player for England, so I'm happy."

Thomas Tuchel has backed Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi to fight their way into first-team contention at Chelsea. 

However, the Blues boss was philosophical when asked whether either England international could leave in the transfer window, adding: "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale."

Gallagher appeared as a late substitute in Chelsea's opening-day Premier League win over Everton last week, while Hudson-Odoi was absent from the Blues' squad at Goodison Park.

Both players have been linked with moves away due to the competition for places at Stamford Bridge, with Hudson-Odoi a reported target for Borussia Dortmund and Gallagher widely admired after racking up eight Premier League goals and three assists on loan at Crystal Palace last term.

While Tuchel recognises N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic represent stern competition for Gallagher, he wants to see him realise his undoubted promise at Chelsea.

"Conor fights in central midfield," Tuchel said ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham. "To be honest, it is a very tough fight for him because, at the moment, it seems we only have two places in central midfield. 

"Given the amount of players we have for central midfield, it isn't ideal, I agree. But we have to do what's best for the squad, not just for each individual player.

"But at the moment, he is absolutely fine. I am a huge fan of Conor. He is a fantastic guy, and this is what we already knew, in the first weeks of training, he has shown how much of a step he has made through having so much playing time.

"It is a very, very normal situation and his development is that at the moment, after some fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there is a little dip in his form and freshness. 

"On top of that, there's a huge competition with N'Golo, Jorgi and Kova, who are used to playing with each other. 

"This is also life in a big club like Chelsea, so everything is in its right place. We are happy with him. He keeps on fighting, and this is what he does. I think he has everything to become very important in the next years at Chelsea."

Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga on several occasions, having only started 32 Premier League games for Chelsea since his 2018 debut, but Tuchel is also keen to hold onto him.

"Callum is the same. He had a long-term injury and long-term problems to overcome," Tuchel said. "I think he still has a way to go to live up to his potential. His potential is huge. 

"I think having Raheem [Sterling] in can give him an extra boost to step up and see what's needed in these kinds of positions to reach the levels he can honestly reach. 

"But at the moment, he is our player, and he needs to fight, fight, fight. I have nothing more to say."

But with over two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Tuchel refused to rule out a change in the club's strategy.

"In general, nobody is for sale,", Tuchel added. "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale. 

"It depends on what the player wants, how bad the player wants it, what we think about who is ready to pay a certain amount of money, and then maybe everybody is for sale."

Thomas Tuchel never felt Chelsea had a "huge gap" to Tottenham before seven months in which the clubs appeared to travel in opposite directions.

Chelsea won all four meetings with Spurs in all competitions last season without conceding.

Indeed, the Blues are unbeaten in seven against their London rivals in the Premier League, with Tottenham having won only one of their past 37 trips to Stamford Bridge in all competitions.

Spurs coach Antonio Conte said after a 2-0 Chelsea win in the EFL Cup semi-finals that Tuchel's men were "much stronger than us".

"This game confirmed what I thought about the difference between the teams," he added.

However, since then Tottenham have joined Chelsea in qualifying for the Champions League and enjoyed an excellent transfer window.

Having beaten Southampton 4-1 on the opening day of the season, Conte's side head into the second weekend on top of the table; in 2022, they have earned the third-most points in the division (44) behind Liverpool (52) and Manchester City (46), with Chelsea sixth in that regard (35).

Conte's January comments were put to Tuchel on Friday then, before the teams' latest meeting, and the Chelsea coach was asked to reflect on how the situation had changed.

But Tuchel argued his team had only dominated Spurs due to their commitment and performance in those matches – and he suggested Conte's analysis should be taken with a pinch of salt.

"I never felt a huge gap in preparing these matches," Tuchel said before Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge. "They are close matches, and they are a very competitive and very talented squad.

"I know very well what we invested and to what level we played to beat them four times and not concede a goal against this quality team in an emotional game in London that means for everybody so much.

"This was a huge effort and a big performance from us.

"In general, I don't believe everything Antonio Conte says in games like this, before games and after games.

"I admire him a lot and believe strongly that every team he trains competes for everything, no matter which team it is and what club it is. This is what he proves right now.

"They had maybe the opposite last seven months from us, given the situation.

"Everything was clear; they had something very clear to fight for, they put all the energy in to reach Champions League football and they reached Champions League football.

"Their targets were clear, the set-up in the club was clear, and they took advantage of this situation and had a very aggressive transfer period, a very straightforward and excellent transfer period to strengthen their squad in quality and in depth.

"That's why it's one of the toughest opponents. That's what it is always with Antonio Conte's teams."

Tuchel would not reveal his "secret" to keeping Harry Kane and Son Heung-min quiet, but he openly discussed how a heatwave in the United Kingdom might impact the match.

"It is demanding," he said. "It is more demanding – we see clearly from the data that the same training exercise in a different condition has a very different output and a very different effect on how you feel.

"It is maybe also a matter of how much you want it and how much you accept it.

"It will feel at times maybe very, very difficult and very draining. It is also a question of who has the ability, the will to play through the pain."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hopes former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang receives a "good reception" from Gunners fans if he returns to the Premier League from Barcelona.

Aubameyang was stripped of his captaincy last season before sealing a move to Barca, with further details of how the situation developed coming to light in Amazon's All Or Nothing documentary series.

In the latest episodes, released on Thursday, Arteta took strong action against Aubameyang after he returned late to training following a trip to Paris, setting in motion events that would lead to his departure.

The Amazon cameras also showed Arteta claimed to have record of numerous prior incidents of Aubameyang's indiscipline.

However, the Arsenal manager insisted on Friday he still has positive memories of the forward, who was the subject of much discussion as he emerges as a reported transfer target for rivals Chelsea.

"It's a long time since that happened. I cannot go back each time there is a series. I have made my comments on that," Arteta said of Aubameyang's exit.

"What has been done has to defend the club and put it in the best possible position.

"Auba is an exceptional player. He did so much for us. I hope he gets a good reception [if he comes back], because I think he deserves that."

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel worked with Aubameyang previously at Borussia Dortmund and said of claims of his "toxic influence" at Arsenal: "I experienced none of this.

"This has nothing to do with the situation at Arsenal, which I also will not comment about out of respect, because it's not on me to comment. I don't know what happened.

"In Dortmund, there was never an issue."

Thomas Tuchel would have no concerns about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's attitude but has refused to discuss the possibility of working with the Barcelona striker again at Chelsea.

The Blues have been linked with a move for Aubameyang after Tuchel acknowledged on Friday they "could use" new signings both in attack and defence.

Tuchel offered a firm "no comment" when asked about interest in either Aubameyang or Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana, but was willing to reflect on his work with the Barca front man while at Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang scored 56 Bundesliga goals in 63 games under Tuchel at BVB. Indeed, for no coach in the top five leagues has Aubameyang scored more goals, registered more goal contributions (63) or netted at a faster rate (94 minutes per goal).

Tuchel still enjoys a close bond with the reported Chelsea target, telling a news conference ahead of Sunday's game against Tottenham: "I enjoyed a lot working with him. It was a pleasure.

"This has nothing to do with the situation now, but some players stay your players, because you were very, very close. Auba was one of these players.

"We had a very close relationship. Always when we played him here with Arsenal, there was always straight away this close bond. They stay your players, in a way, and Auba is one of these guys."

Mikel Arteta did not enjoy quite the same relationship with Aubameyang at Arsenal, with their fallout – which resulted in his January move to Barca – documented in Amazon's recent All or Nothing documentary series.

But Tuchel, quizzed on Aubameyang's "toxic influence", said: "I experienced none of this.

"This has nothing to do with the situation at Arsenal, which I also will not comment about out of respect, because it's not on me to comment. I don't know what happened.

"In Dortmund, there was never an issue."

And Tuchel is not concerned by others' opinions on Aubameyang, adding: "I don't follow the press about Auba. Don't be offended, but I don't follow the press so much.

"I don't know if he has a bad press or a good press – I could not care less. It's not important."

For now, Tuchel's focus is on Sunday's game against Spurs, and he is determined not to be distracted by possible transfer activity.

"We will not panic, and we will not try to sign players of which we are not 100 per cent convinced," he explained. "Our signings so far are fantastic signings and help us.

"To be very honest, it's a day-by-day business now to coach the team which is here and not to lose your head as a coach too much about what could be.

"What sense does it make if I lose my head now in the office and think about the team with players who are not here?

"We are ambitious, and we work hard to maybe strengthen our squad further, but at the same time we are calm, and all the energy and the ambition goes into the group that is here. We have still time."

Raheem Sterling believes Chelsea are "tailor-made" for him, while adding he did not consider prior abuse from supporters as a strike against the club after his Stamford Bridge arrival.

Ex-Manchester City stalwart Sterling ended a seven-year spell with the Premier League champions to make the move to Thomas Tuchel's side ahead of the new campaign.

Under Pep Guardiola, the 27-year-old played a part in multiple domestic triumphs, and further enshrined himself as a fixture in Gareth Southgate's England squad.

But a reduced role last term, with just 23 top-flight starts, has seen him push on for a more expansive role elsewhere - and Sterling feels he has found the right answer to his problems with Chelsea.

"As a person, you strive to achieve," the forward told a news conference. "I felt my playing-time at City was being limited for different reasons and I could not afford to waste time.

"At first, I had a few options, but this was the one that was tailor-made for my personal goals. It made a lot of sense for my family and with the direction of the club.

"I have a lot of memories and top moments at City but in the year and a bit that I was in and out of the team it made me value a lot of things."

Sterling has previously weathered racial abuse from sections of the Chelsea fanbase during his days with City, but the forward stated he had forgotten the incident when quizzed on whether it played a part in his decision-making.

"No, that is the first time I [have] even remembered it," he added. "It was nothing that played on my mind at all. I cannot let an incident from individuals reflect on the club."

Sterling will hope to cement his place in Southgate's plans for the Qatar 2022 World Cup over the coming months, having been a key member of the Three Lions team that reached the semi-finals at Russia 2018 four years ago.

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