‘It is a huge mistake’: Tuchel rues Mendy error in Chelsea’s heavy defeat at Leeds

Sport

An unhappy Thomas Tuchel branded Édouard Mendy’s error that allowed Leeds’s opening goal as “huge” and criticised the way his defence conceded a second from a free‑kick as Chelsea were beaten 3-0 at Elland Road.

Leeds’s first win in this fixture in 20 years was precipitated by Mendy’s decision not to clear a backpass. Instead the Chelsea goalkeeper tried to dribble past Brenden Aaronson and the No 7 stole the ball and scored.

Minutes later Raheem Sterling conceded a free-kick near his area and from it Rodrigo out-jumped Reece James to double the lead, before Jack Harrison completed the win in the second half. Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off late on for the visitors.

Of Mendy, Tuchel said: “He knows himself, with these kind of mistakes I don’t know if it is necessary to speak a lot [to him]. He knows it is a mistake. Everybody in the world sees that mistake and it is a huge mistake in a crucial time of the match. It does not help. He is the one who is most disappointed. It cost us a lot today.”

Tuchel denied that Leeds’s pressing and their collective running of 11km more was the deciding factor. “We scored an own goal and gave an awfully cheap set-piece and conceded from a set‑piece. It is nothing to do with pressing, nothing to do with running less kilometres and nothing to do with the style of Leeds. We were able to be the better team.

“But then it was 2-0 and our body language was not like it was in the last match [against Tottenham]. I don’t see the connection that we lost to the style of Leeds. We knew it was coming.”

Tuchel wants to buy the Leicester defender Wesley Fofana to stiffen the rearguard. He was asked about signing another centre-back. “The transfer period is still open and it gets later and later and we need to focus on what we have and what we can do,” the German said.

On Koulibaly’s red card Tuchel said: “It is a bit of a reflection of the frustration. It cannot happen. We cannot get frustrated in games. Today we lost track and there was no need, we were not forced to. Everything was going well. I still believe we can win with this team in Leeds. It is more our fault than anybody else’s credit.”

Jesse Marsch countered Tuchel’s denial regarding his team. “He can have his opinion,” the Leeds manager said. “I think our way of playing dictated the match almost entirely, limited them, made them make mistakes. If you give those quality players time, they can create chances. We wanted to make them uncomfortable.”