Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has apologised after angering manager Thomas Tuchel with his red card against Leicester City.
Gallagher was booked twice in the opening half hour to leave referee Paul Tierney with little choice but to send him off. It was the second time in two games that a Chelsea player has been dismissed for a two yellow cards, after Kalidou Koulibaly saw red during the defeat at Leeds United last time out.
Chelsea still claimed all three points, with Raheem Sterling scoring his first two Premier League goals for the club. However, with Tuchel visibly frustrated by a decision which he said “almost kills the whole football match,” the former Crystal Palace loanee has responded.
“Today he is responsible for what he did,” Tuchel said of Gallagher after the game. “Of course, he knows it was a huge mistake. We spoke briefly after the game and things like this can happen.
“At the end of this chain is a decision that brings such a huge disadvantage after 25 minutes. It’s a very, very bad decision from Conor and, of course, he is upset. Everybody was upset in this moment because it almost kills the whole football match.”
Gallagher will have time to reflect on the decision as he watches from the sidelines for Chelsea’s midweek meeting with Southampton. However, the 22-year-old has already shared his immediate thoughts on Instagram and made a public apology.
“Proud of the team for digging deep today and winning with 10 men,” Gallagher wrote. “Personally, I want to apologise to my teammates, staff and the fans.
“I take full responsibility for the rash decision leaving them with a huge challenge for the rest of the game. Thankfully, they came through.
Gallagher will serve a one-match suspension on Tuesday as the Blues travel to Southampton, though Koulibaly will be back after his own suspension. After the midweek game, Tuchel’s side are due to host West Ham United in the league before beginning their European campaign with a trip to Dinamo Zagreb.
Tuchel, who was serving a suspension of his own after events around Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, made clear his frustration didn’t just lie with Gallagher. “We lack belief and precision. We can speak it out clearly,” he said.
“It’s not good enough how we take set-pieces at the moment and on top of it, we give chances away. We are sloppy on the coverage, bad with the decision making and how we cover the set-pieces.
“We have to stop doing this and improve immediately. We are on it with the team and I don’t know why it happened again.”