If it was a mission assertion, it additionally appeared the kind of assertion that each supervisor must make. “Our goal is to never be outran, to never be outworked but also to never be outfought,” mentioned Jesse Marsch after incessant operating and a Stakhanovite work ethic cast the best results of his reign. Chelsea had been run ragged and labored over by Leeds. After the Battle of the Bridge in opposition to Tottenham, this was a battle carried out in race after race. Leeds stored successful them.
For some, essentially the most damning statistic was not a 3-0 scoreline however the truth that Leeds ran 11km greater than Chelsea. The strollers from the Kings Road misplaced out to the sprinters from Elland Road. But not, Thomas Tuchel insisted, due to the variations in distance coated. “It is nothing to do with pressing, nothing to do with running less kilometres and nothing to do with the style of Leeds,” he mentioned. Arguing defeat stemmed from particular person errors, reasonably than managerial blueprint or decisions, may sound self-serving. “It is more our fault than anybody else’s credit,” he mentioned, reasonably gracelessly.
Certainly Marsch’s case felt extra compelling. “He can have his opinion,” mentioned the Leeds supervisor. “I think our way of playing dictated the match almost entirely, limited them, made them make mistakes.” If errors that come from cumulative fatigue from being pestered for 90 minutes imply Leeds’ high-intensity strategy can have an oblique affect on the result, some moments might be traced extra on to the Whites’ operating energy: Kalidou Koulibaly’s crimson card stemmed from fouls when Brenden Aaronson and Joe Gelhardt surged previous him, Leeds’ second purpose to Raheem Sterling’s unlawful try to halt a equally speedy Marc Roca.
Tuchel was sensitive, arguing operating statistics didn’t correlate to outcome. “All of you make the mistake that they run 11km more and we lose 3-0,” he mentioned. But, and on the threat of stating the apparent, 11km is so much: not fairly the additional 14km Brentford ran in comparison with a lacklustre Manchester United group with a pronounced angle downside final week however nonetheless a mean of 1km per participant; extra if goalkeepers are omitted. It appears an indictment.
Tuchel appeared to deem it inevitable that Leeds would run additional, although it’s only 20 months since Frank Lampard’s Chelsea coated extra floor than Marcelo Bielsa’s aspect in a 3-1 win; there’s a concept that their efforts had been so exhausting they led to a subsequent downturn that value the Englishman his job.
Perhaps Tuchelball diminished the reliance on operating. A larger consideration to element meant extra coherence; defensively he closed the gaps between gamers. Two of Chelsea’s elder statesmen benefited. Jorginho can look fallible when remoted however he hardly ever has been beneath Tuchel, till he seemed lonely at Leeds. Thiago Silva can be 38 quickly, and it appears a case of cruelty to the aged to power him to face Leeds. Tuchel’s typical gameplan entails preserving 5 gamers, two defensive midfielders and three centre backs, in a decent construction behind the ball however Leeds swamped Chelsea at instances.
While he didn’t admit it, Tuchel’s selections confirmed the importance of operating. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be significantly cell however ended up at wing again, presumably as a result of he didn’t belief Cesar Azpilicueta’s slowing legs and needed Conor Gallagher’s power in midfield. Chelsea missed the hyperactive N’Golo Kante however, as he’s more and more injury-prone, they usually do and even he wouldn’t have made up an 11km differential himself. It is notable that one among Tuchel’s targets is Anthony Gordon. He could have had added causes to want final week’s bid was accepted by Everton to present him the choice of one other pure runner.
Sometimes Chelsea can compensate with nous, teamwork and positional self-discipline, inserting their slower gamers in roles the place their lack of velocity will not be uncovered however, astute as Tuchel usually is, it locations an added emphasis on tactical cleverness if there’s a gulf in athletic capability or effort. While he and Marsch are each influenced by Ralf Rangnick, they don’t seem to be mental soulmates and he won’t take Leeds’ strategy. Tuchel doesn’t need his soccer to resemble basketball. He likes to ration operating, to press with urgency however then retain possession. Yet, courtesy of Leeds’ harrying, Jorginho went from making 65 passes in opposition to Tottenham to only 27 at Elland Road. He ran one recreation and was run out of one other. Chelsea had been terrific one week, horrible the following.
Perhaps it’s an aberration. A curiosity of a largely constant group is that they have the occasional surprising lead to Tuchel’s tenure. Specialists in clear sheets beneath the German, they’ve additionally misplaced 5-2 to West Brom, 4-1 to Brentford and now 3-0 to Leeds, a group who did go down, one who had simply come up and one who solely simply survived three months in the past.
Maybe regular service can be resumed subsequent week. But whereas Tuchel denied it was an issue of mentality at Elland Road, whereas it may be simplistic to say the group who ran additional tried tougher, the urgent monster Aaronson mentioned: “We wanted it more.” It seemed that manner. And if that’s the case, the problems for Chelsea prolong far past particular person errors.