LONDON — Thomas Tuchel admitted his Chelsea side were ‘lucky’ as they battled back to beat Leeds United 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge.
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Roared on by their feisty home crowd amid the mist and rain against a fired up Leeds side, Tuchel saw his side fight back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to win 3-2 in the 94th minute, as the melee at the final whistle summed things up.
It took two Jorginho penalty kicks in the second half to secure the win, as Chelsea rode their luck and their defensive issues continue. For most of the match the home fans were nervous, and their players looked it too as defensive mistakes continued.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Tuchel was happy with the display as Chelsea kept their title bid on track.
Tuchel hails Chelsea spirit, luck
“We played very strong in the first half and we showed a good reaction after the equalizer. In-between we played maybe a little bit with a fear to have something to lose and we absolutely did, we didn’t want to lose what we worked so hard for,” Tuchel said.
“It’s always a bit of luck in the end to get such a late goal, but we conceded now a few of them, so maybe it was our turn. We needed this win desperately for the mood, the belief, for the atmosphere. I’m very happy how we got it and very happy with how we played.”
Chelsea did look a little nervy, but their big players stood tall.
From Antonio Rudiger winning two penalty kicks to Mason Mount coming up with another big goal, Jorginho tucking away two penalties and Reece James surging forward time and time again, Chelsea showed their resilience to win even when they were far from their best.
Similar problems for Chelsea
With N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic out injured, Chelsea have missed their two central midfielders badly and that could explain why they have conceded so easily, and frequently, in recent weeks.
Via Opta, Chelsea have conceded eight goals across their last three games in all competitions, as many as in their previous 18 games. That shows you how much they’re struggling at the back.
Jorginho has been nursed through games, and is digging deep, but it’s clear that Chelsea aren’t able to control games like they have been since Tuchel arrived in January 2021.
“It is clear we miss N’Golo and Kovacic,” Tuchel admitted.
Leeds won the ball high up the pitch on several occasions and had their finishing or final pass been better, Chelsea would have been punished.
Tuchel knows this was a better display than their draw at Zenit in midweek and defeat at West Ham last weekend. But only because of the result.
“We were lucky to have this last penalty so late to turn things around,” Tuchel said.