'Cause some havoc': Leeds United boss on Thomas Tuchel puzzlement, rivalry and brave Chelsea vow

Jesse Marsch always assumed that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel would not be on the Elland Road sidelines tomorrow.
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"If you get a red card, you're out of the match," said the Whites head coach, referencing Tuchel's 'bust-up' with Antonio Conte following the heavy handshake which landed the pair dismissals in last weekend's London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

Yet as Marsch faced the press to preview Sunday's encounter between Leeds and Chelsea, nobody really knew whether Tuchel would be there or not amidst a waiting game as to what punishment he would face.

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In the end, the FA delivered their verdict on Friday evening, handing Tuchel a one-game touchline ban.

CONTROVERSY: Over Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, pictured above during May's clash at Elland Road, who Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch believes should have been automatically banned from the sidelines for his red card in last weekend's 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.CONTROVERSY: Over Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, pictured above during May's clash at Elland Road, who Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch believes should have been automatically banned from the sidelines for his red card in last weekend's 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.
CONTROVERSY: Over Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, pictured above during May's clash at Elland Road, who Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch believes should have been automatically banned from the sidelines for his red card in last weekend's 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

But then the plot thickened as news emerged that the sanctions were subject to appeal.

Tuchel’s one-match touchline ban has been suspended temporarily pending the independent Regulatory Commission’s written reasons for its decisions that will be made in due course.

But be it with Tuchel on the sidelines or otherwise, there was, said Marsch, absolutely no doubting the size of test his Leeds side would face against Chelsea – yet still a vow to "cause havoc" for the star-studded Blues.

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Three months ago, Leeds helped cause havoc upon themselves when the two sides met at Elland Road in May as Dan James was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Mateo Kovacic after 24 minutes.

Tuchel's Blues went on to record a 3-0 victory but three months later a red card recently issued to Tuchel is the talk of the town as historic rivals Leeds and Chelsea prepare to meet again.

Marsch wasn't even born when the rivalry between the Whites and Blues first began via fierce battles in the 1960s - culminating in the 1970 FA Cup final - but United's head coach is well aware of the edge that is still associated with the fixture today.

Marsch, though, is first and foremost focused on the huge array of threats that the Chelsea side of today have to offer, regardless of whether it's Tuchel or his assistant Zsolt Low calling the instructions on the sidelines.

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"In theory, when the managers are not there, it's an advantage," said Marsch.

"But I also know Zsolt Low quite well, their assistant, and he's a brilliant football mind.

"I have no doubt that he would be able to help out from there.

"I was probably tossed out of games too much in the MLS and so I developed strategies on how to deal with that.

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"One of the strategies was seeing if the team could take more ownership and that's a big that's a tenet of my leadership principles.

"This has nothing to do with Thomas Tuchel or anyone else, but I've always assumed that when a manager gets a red card that he's suspended for the next match.

"Are they saying he might be able to be on the bench? If you get a red card, you're out of the match.

"I would be disappointed if they allowed him to be on the bench. There's a simple rule in football, whether it's soccer, football, I think if you get a red card, you can't play the next match."

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Asked how aware he was of the rivalry that exists between the Whites and Blues, Marsch said: "I have been told about it.

"Even from someone like me, the 60s is a long, long time ago, which I guess I'm happy to say.

"But this is the beauty of this club, you can meet someone in the streets who's five years old or 95 years old, and they've got Leeds United stories.

"I think in the moment, it's all about how good Chelsea is and us just managing one of the best opponents in the world."

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After two games of the new campaign, sixth-placed Leeds actually sit one position higher than Chelsea in the very early Premier League table on the back of the season opening 2-1 win at home to Wolves and last weekend's 2-2 draw at Southampton.

Chelsea began the new season with a 1-0 win at Everton and were then denied a second victory in the dying embers of last weekend's London derby against Tottenham as Harry Kane bagged a 96th minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

Asked if Chelsea had a chance of winning this year's Premier League, Marsch reasoned: "Yeah. We're only two years removed or a year and three months removed from them winning the Champions League and I think that they've continued to add to their squad in a really good way.

"They have amazing players, I was even presenting them to the team today and a few different things.

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"I said, ‘yeah, this player is good and then that player is good. and then he's good at this. I said, no, they're all good.’

"I love these games because of that.

"It's such a massive challenge and the biggest thing is that our players understand the plan and that they can go out and go after the game.

"I think we have a team that can cause some havoc against an opponent like this right now.

"At home, I think we always enjoy playing at Elland Road, I think you can see that in the beginning stages that the team is coming together in a good way.

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"We're trying to develop a good plan and a plan that is easy enough for them to execute and then we just want them to go on the pitch and play to their abilities and if we do that, as a group, we have a chance.

"I think we definitely have a chance."

The decision on the exact XI that will look to give Leeds that chance will be left until today as Marsch takes a late check on striker Patrick Bamford who was taken off midway through the first half of last weekend's clash at Southampton after feeling a little tightness in his abductor.

But be it Bamford, Rodrigo or Joe Gelhardt upfront, Marsch says there are particular aspects of his side's game that will be key against the Blues.

"One of the things will be fitness," said Marsch.

"Not just being healthy, but being fully fit to meet the demands of what this game will be because it'll be played at a fast pace.

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"Chelsea play with such tempo with the ball that they can unbalance you in many different ways.

"For me, their backline now with Koulibaly and Cucurella is a player that I think is absolutely fantastic.

"So, intelligence, experience, quality, athleticism, what a formidable defence and then a great goalkeeper behind them.

"We will make it difficult on them, we will try to press them in the right moments, we're not going to just sit back and take pressure.

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"We're going to be aggressive with the ball, we want to be brave, we want to challenge them.

"They're also incredibly good on set pieces and we saw this with Koulibaly, he's a beast.

"It's big challenge for us and one that we're truly, truly excited about, truly excited."

Asked if his players had been given a history lesson about the size of the fixture, Marsch reasoned: "No, I don't think so.

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"When Andrea (Radrizzani) spoke to the team, he gave a video with a lot of the history of the club, before a lot of them had been recruited, Victor (Orta) has incredible scenes from the past and talks about trophies and the identity.

"This is the main thing, it's one thing to talk about the history of the club for me and another to talk about the identity.

"But the history means something to the identity, they're not separate.

"For me, that's what's so much more important that they that we understand exactly what our fans demand, and that we represent that.

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"Again, I think it's just focusing on this moment, Chelsea is an incredible club, one of the richest in the world, one of the best teams in the world, with an incredible coach, who hopefully won't be on the bench.

"That's entirely our focus right now."