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Tuchel bewails ‘two presents’, bad execution in Chelsea debacle against Leeds United at Elland Road

Not how it was drawn up

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch boldly declared that no one will ever “out work” or “out run” his team, and while that was certainly true today, their 3-0 victory owed far more to what Chelsea did — or didn’t do.

As expected, Elland Road was in fine voice and spirit in the latest edition of this rekindled rivalry, but while the home side’s swarm ball tactics naturally turned the game into a playground affair, it were Chelsea who should’ve taken the lead inside of the first minute. Chances are, the game would’ve turned out drastically differently had Raheem Sterling scored inside of the first minute, or if the likes Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount had done better with their efforts from inside the box.

But they didn’t, and instead we gifted a couple goals to them instead, after which we were not able to recover our level of play. Thomas Tuchel made a tactical shift at half-time that seemed to have a positive effect, though without changing the scoreline, before throwing all caution to the wind and conceding a third.

We can only be angry at ourselves for this result.

“At the start we were completely the better team and had huge chances but if you want to win the game you have to convert these chances. We gave two presents away and that was it.

“We didn’t do what we had done for the first 20 minutes and did not execute what we wanted to do and what we had done at the beginning of the match and that’s why the game was a bit stuck.

“We gave two gifts away which cost us the game. We had triple the amount of touches in the box but no shots and you can’t score without shooting at goal.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Sky via BBC

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The focus will be on the result obviously, and with transfer window still open, on finding some magic solution to the issues seen today — issues that have become all too familiar over the past year or so. But there is no magic potion in football, and even if the squad changes in the remaining ten days, we have to improve on an individual and collective level, mentally, tactically, physically.

“We give goals away from huge individual errors too often. It is what it is. This is the squad. My energy goes to the squad we have, we try to make the squad better, but if we don’t we fight what we have.

“It is the transfer period and things are always crazy. We didn’t see it coming. We got frustrated because we had a good start, created huge chances, but we got frustrated. We conceded the first goal and then after the second one almost lost the match there and then.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC

Plenty of work to be done, especially if we want to look back on this result as the low-point of the 2022-23 season.

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