'It's a game we need' - Leeds United's Tyler Roberts on Thomas Tuchel's impact, Chelsea and consistency

In the midst of what Tyler Roberts admits is a 'bit of a rocky run' a game against bang-in-form Chelsea might seem like the last thing Leeds United need.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:06 pm
BIG CLASH - Tyler Roberts' game against West Ham gave him his fourth consecutive start for Leeds United. He believes Saturday's game against Chelsea is one the Whites need. Pic: Getty

Thomas Tuchel was appointed as Frank Lampard's replacement late in January.

Lampard's sacking came with the Blues sitting ninth in the Premier League having won one of their previous five league games.

Whether you feel it was brutally hasty or not, Lampard's removal and Tuchel's introduction has had an immediate and dramatic effect. Of Tuchel's 11 games in charge, Chelsea have won eight and drawn three, conceding just two goals.

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The Blues are fourth in the table, four points behind second placed Manchester United, as they head to Elland Road for Saturday's early kick-off against historic rivals Leeds.

Whites forward Roberts can be forgiven for not being able to devote much time to the goings on at Stamford Bridge - he's been busy playing football, starting the last four games for Marcelo Bielsa's side. It's his longest run of league starts since last season, an injury to Rodrigo and Pablo Hernandez' continued struggles to stay fit or break into Bielsa's plans giving the Welsh international a big chance. Rodrigo returned as a substitute in Monday's defeat at West Ham and will be fighting to reclaim his place, but Roberts has relished his spell in the team.

"I haven't started a game since near the start of the season so to get back in and get a run of games has been beneficial for me," he told BBC Leeds.

"I'm just trying to learn every game. I'm not somebody that's going to be happy with their performance even if I scored a hat-trick. I agree with what [Bielsa] says, it's about me being more consistent, performing more consistently. It's something I'm working on, looking at my game each game, learning in training. It was definitely a positive comment. I know he has confidence in me and that gives me confidence.

"I spoke with my mum about it not long ago - this [Premier League football] has been a dream since I was younger, kicking a ball. Although there's so many things I'm not happy with, my assists and goals, you have to take a step back and realise the work and appreciate the work you and your loved ones have put in to get to this place. I'm enjoying it."

Leeds of late have been lacking the very thing Roberts is trying to add to his game - consistency. Their performances, in defeats to Wolves, Aston Villa and West Ham, arguably deserved a lot more but missed chances, misfortune and sloppy defending have cost them dearly and left them with one win in five.

Facing Chelsea, who already boasted enviable quality throughout the squad before Tuchel came in and guided them to a nine-game record only bettered by league leaders Manchester City, is just what they need, Roberts insists.

He's well aware of the job Tuchel is doing at Chelsea, but believes this is the kind of challenge the Whites should welcome.

"I haven't watched Chelsea too much but he's gone in with a style," he said.

"I watched the first game he took charge and you could see straight away he has his own philosophy and style and he's obviously got the players on board with that. If a manager has that status and charisma and if the players get on board it can go great for you. Obviously it's working for him.

"It's a big game and a game we need. It's going to be tough of course but we've been on a bit of a rocky run and there's no better way to come out of that."