Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said his team played with a fear of losing in Saturday’s dramatic 3-2 win over a spirited Leeds United side as the Londoners avoided conceding further ground in the Premier League title race.
Chelsea, who were knocked off the top spot in the table after their defeat by West Ham United last weekend, secured a late victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Jorginho scored two penalties against Leeds, including one in stoppage time.
The win kept Chelsea in third on 36 points after 16 matches, two points behind leaders Manchester City and one behind second-placed Liverpool.
“I was confident we would get one more chance and turn things around because we played very strong in the first half and showed a good reaction after the equaliser,” Tuchel told reporters.
“We played with a fear maybe to lose and we didn’t want to lose what we worked so hard for. It was a bit of luck in the end when you get a late goal but we’ve conceded two of them so maybe it was our turn.”
Saturday’s win was Chelsea’s first league victory at home in three games after they drew with Manchester United and Burnley last month.
“We needed this win desperately for the mood, the feeling, the atmosphere,” Tuchel added.
The German manager also praised Jorginho, who helped seal three points for Chelsea on Saturday after missing their Champions League draw with Zenit St Petersburg in midweek due to a niggling back problem.
“He is super important,” Tuchel said. “He sacrifices himself for many weeks actually.
“I knew this moment would come where he suffers because he played Champions League, then in Euros with Italy, then qualifiers for the World Cup, so it was not only physical effort for him but it was mentally very demanding.
“But Jorgi is fully aware of the situation and has sacrificed. He has been hours and hours with the physios and medical department to get himself in the best shape possible.”