Thursday 19 October 2017

'We were attacked as men' - Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel outraged at UEFA decision to play match with Monaco

Thomas Tuchel, head coach of Borussia Dortmund looks on ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco at Signal Iduna Park on April 12, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. The match was rescheduled after an alleged terrorist attack on the Borussia Dortmund team coach as it made it's way to the stadium. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Thomas Tuchel, head coach of Borussia Dortmund looks on ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco at Signal Iduna Park on April 12, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. The match was rescheduled after an alleged terrorist attack on the Borussia Dortmund team coach as it made it's way to the stadium. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel criticised UEFA's decision to make his side play their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Monaco on Wednesday.

The Bundesliga outfit took to the field less than 24 hours after the original tie was postponed when three explosions went off near their team bus as they made their way to Signal Iduna Park, leaving defender Marc Bartra needing surgery on an arm injury.

Dortmund lost 3-2 in a breathless rearranged encounter, which Tuchel claims his side were told they had to play by a text message from UEFA.

"We were informed by text message that UEFA was making this decision," the boss told a news conference.

"A decision made in Switzerland that concerns us directly. We will not forget it, it is a very bad feeling.

"A few minutes after this attack, the only question that was asked was, 'Are you ready to play?'. As if we had thrown a beer on our coach.

"At that time, we did not know the reasons for this attack. There is a feeling of helplessness. The date was imposed on us. What we think has not interested anyone. We weren't asked about playing the game.

"I just wanted more time, a few more days. In a few days, we will not have digested completely but time helps us to find a solution.

"It is important to have a chance to realise this dream and our team was not at the top in concentration to make a difference at this level.

"UEFA is eager to continue playing. Of course we have to keep it going, but we still want to be competitive. We do not want to use the situation as an excuse.

"We wished we would have had more time to deal with what happened, but someone in Switzerland decided we must play.

"Every player has the right to deal with it in his way. The team did not feel in the mood, in which you must be for such a game.

"We let the players choose if they wanted to play. But this morning, we found that the training had done good, that it had made us think of something else.

"We were attacked as men and we tried to solve the problem on the ground.

"Everyone has their own way of reacting to events. The players had the choice not to play but no one chose this option."

Speaking during a pre-match interview with Sky Deutschland, Tuchel said: "There are players who can easily deal with what's happened and others who worry more - very mixed feelings.

"It's not very fair. What happened yesterday happened to us as people. Every player has the right to start with a strange feeling.

"We've been left feeling a bit helpless by the decision. But professionals find solutions to problems. We are strong enough."

Questions were asked whether Dortmund would have been in the right frame of mind to take the field so soon after the incident.

And, after wearing T-shirts supporting their stricken team-mate in the warm-up, their first-half performance proved doubters right as Monaco, who also missed a penalty, surged into a two-goal lead through Kylian Mbappe's opener and a Sven Bender own goal.

The second half was a different story as Ousmane Dembele and Shinji Kagawa goals either side of Mbappe's second left it all to play for ahead of the return leg in the Principality.

And Tuchel was proud of his side's second-half effort.

"The team has shown an incredible character," he added. "We have won the second half, the spirit in the second half was great."

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim had sympathy with Dortmund, but says a packed fixture list played its part in the quickfire rescheduling.

"Maybe it should not be played either today," he said. "But the calendar gave few options to be able to play the match.

"We produced a good result but it's only half-time of the quarter-final."

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