Chelsea boss Tuchel shares special preparation for Leeds United clash

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admitted he decided not to use several key players in the draw with Zenit, so they can prepare for an intense game against Leeds United on Saturday.

The German came under criticism after Chelsea’s recent poor run of results, including the disappointing draw with Zenit in the Champions League.

He even experimented by playing Reece James in midfield, as well as deploying Saul Niguez in the left wing-back role.

Unfortunately, it was not enough to secure three points and Chelsea eventually finished second in Group H behind Juventus.

Tuchel could have easily played it safer. For example, he had the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva on the bench who could arguably have made a difference.


However, it seems Tuchel decided to let them recover ahead of the likely challenging game against their old rivals this weekend.

Photo by LEE SMITH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“I didn’t know that,” Tuchel told Chelsea TV about the rivalry with Leeds.

“But I get the feeling that we have a lot of these rivalries — which is a good thing. It spices things up a bit.

“Mason [Mount] told me about it, and we had these talks when we played there. But we played without spectators, so I could not get the full feeling.”

“It’s an important match for us because we want to bounce back.

“[We also] rested some players, [so] they should be in physical conditions to match the intensity that Leeds bring.

“They prepared the whole week, so expect them to be well-prepared.

“We have to step up.”

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It is easy to see why Tuchel seems to focus on matching Leeds’ intensity.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men are the most energetic side in the league, to say the least.

They have made more pressures on the pitch than any other team in the competition this term (2495– via FBRef) with the best success rate as well (31.6%). To put it into perspective, Chelsea rank 10th in terms of defensive pressures (2095).

Not to mention that Chelsea are also under pressure after slipping to third in the league table and now two points behind Manchester City.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.