Marcelo Bielsa on Chelsea's quality attack, Leeds United's Stamford Bridge struggles and Diego Llorente's debut

The quality of Chelsea's attack and Leeds United's failure to win the ball high up the pitch made life difficult in what Marcelo Bielsa felt was a deserved win for Frank Lampard's Blues.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 10:39 pm
Updated Saturday, 5th December 2020, 10:42 pm
MAJOR ISSUE - Leeds United struggled to cope with Chelsea's free-kicks and corners and Kurt Zouma took full advantage to score the Blues' second goal. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Despite Leeds getting off to a dream start at Stamford Bridge with a Patrick Bamford goal against his former side on four minutes, the hosts recovered and began causing problems for Leeds through their star-studded attacking line-up.

The Whites lost centre-half Robin Koch to injury on nine minutes, meaning fit-again Diego Llorente had to come on for his debut and a baptism of fire. Bielsa said on Thursday that the Spaniard was healthy after a period out with a groin problem, but he hoped there would be no need to rush the defender back into action.

Chelsea levelled midway through the half when Olivier Giroud hit the net and they grew in control in the second half, going ahead with a Kurt Zouma header and making the win safe in injury time, Christian Pulisic finishing off a counter attack.

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"I thought the result was fair," said Bielsa, whose side struggled to create as many chances as their hosts and looked decidedly uncomfortable from set-pieces.

The Argentine pinpointed an ineffective press and a struggle with corners as major issues.

"I think what was lacked is we failed to recover the ball in the initial phase when Chelsea played out from the back," he said.

"We failed to neutralise them in this aspect [corners] and in the end it was an important factor."

On the enforced chance after nine minutes, Bielsa said Koch picked up the problem in the game and his replacement Llorente was up against it.

"He was injured during the game," said the head coach.

"It was a game that was difficult to defend given the quality of the opponents' forwards. They are one of the important teams in the Premier League."

There were a few brief glimpses of hope for Leeds in the latter stages before Chelsea's third goal, one of which was an attack that saw Ben Chilwell make contact with Ian Poveda in the area, the Whites winger stayed on his feet to get a shot off and Edouard Mendy saved comfortably. Had Poveda gone down, Leeds would likely have earned a penalty.

Bielsa, however, was unable to offer insight on the incident.

"I can't give you an opinion on this because I didn't see the attack with clarity," he said.

The game played out in front of 2,000 Chelsea fans, thanks to London's Tier 2 status. Bielsa did not believe the presence of a crowd for the first time since March had an influence on proceedings.