Thomas Tuchel frustrated with scheduling for Chelsea clash v Leeds
Leeds United will have an advantage over Chelsea when the Whites visit Stamford Bridge, according to Thomas Tuchel.
Marcelo Bielsa will take his side to West London on Saturday (11 December), hoping to make it four games in a row without defeat.
Less than 72 hours before the fixture, the Blues will face Zenit St Petersburg away from home in the Champions League on Wednesday (8 December).
Speaking in his pre-match press conference for the European game, Tuchel admitted his frustration with the fixture schedule, which he suggested could catch up with his team against Leeds.
“We had a bit of an acute overload due to injuries and the schedule,” Tuchel said. “Due to our injuries in some position, like central midfield, when we struggle.
“The game tomorrow is not the problem, it’s more the game that comes up on the Saturday.
“We had an early game against West Ham and then a late game against Zenit. We had a day off and good training session today. We can let anybody play of the 17 players plus goalkeepers we have.
“The problem is the next match on Saturday because we will lose time to sleep, arrive back very early on Thursday, and then we face an intense team in Leeds who have prepared to face this match.”
Tuchel should get some sympathy from Bielsa, who spoke only last week (29 November) of the detrimental impact of fixture list congestion.
“The calendar is so overcharged it doesn’t bear in mind the development of the preparation,” the Argentine said [BBC Sport].
“That’s why I have serious doubts over the future of professional football because it is constantly commercialised and the product every time is constantly worse.”
It does seems slightly strange that after facing one of the longest away trips in Europe on Wednesday night, Chelsea play again three days later; there was surely nothing stopping the game against Leeds moving to Sunday.
Although perhaps the reality is that it will affect the Blues far less than Tuchel is making out. His side have already qualified for the Champions League knockout stage – albeit not as group winners – so he is likely to rest his key players in Russia anyway.
Preparation wise, he is likely to have looked ahead to the Leeds fixture in at least some capacity and should know what to expect against the Whites.
In other Leeds United news, a Whites transfer target has spoken about his future amid speculation.