Antonio Rudiger tells Chelsea to stop conceding easy goals

Germany centre back Rudiger won two penalties for the Blues on Saturday

Nick Purewal
Sunday 12 December 2021 12:48
Tuchel on Rüdiger's performance vs Leeds

Antonio Rudiger has called on Chelsea to stop sabotaging themselves with defensive mistakes.

Germany centre back Rudiger won two penalties for the Blues on Saturday, the second allowing Jorginho to net in added-time for a tense 3-2 Premier League win over Leeds.

Jorginho buried both of Chelsea’s spot-kicks to dig Thomas Tuchel’s men out of trouble, and set their Premier League title bid back on track.

Chelsea kept in touch with leaders Manchester City by edging out Leeds and also moved quickly past their 3-2 loss at West Ham.

“In terms of mentality we matched their game, in terms of quality, no, because the goals we conceded were too easy,” Rudiger told Chelsea’s official club website.

“These days we concede a lot of goals that are too easy and we have to address this. We know we need to improve things as quickly as possible.

“We make silly mistakes, we punish ourselves and give away goals. It’s not that the opponents are killing us or outplaying us.

“Obviously we are missing players, this is clear, but I don’t look for excuses.

“We have a good squad and this is the chance for people now and everyone has to take their chance.

Chelsea’s Toni Rudiger and Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier, right, battle for the ball at Stamford Bridge (Adam Davy/PA)

“It is crazy I get myself in positions like this in the last minutes against (Manchester) United and I was there now against Leeds.

“For me it’s important just to try to help the team and show who I am.

“I just thought ‘okay, let’s go forward as there is nothing to lose’.”

Raphinha opened the scoring with a penalty of his own, only to concede a spot-kick for Jorginho to convert and put the Blues 2-1 up after Mason Mount equalised.

Teen striker Joe Gelhardt fired Leeds level in the closing stages, leaving Chelsea staring down the barrel of a fourth top-flight encounter in six without a win.

But Rudiger won that late, late spot-kick for Jorginho to convert, leaving boss Tuchel suitably impressed with the Germany defender’s never-say-die attitude.

“He refused to accept defeat,” said Tuchel.

“This was necessary. We expected it could be an intense match for Toni and Cesar Azpilicueta, because of Leeds’ unique style of defending.

“We expected to have spaces for those two players to drive into. They let us drive in there, and the two players did that well.

“Toni would not accept us losing, and we were lucky of course to have the last penalty so late. But we did everything possible to turn it around.”

Youngster Gelhardt admitted he had no idea how to celebrate after scoring his maiden Leeds goal with almost his first touch in the match.

“My eyes lit up and when it went in I almost didn’t know what to do,” Gelhardt told Leeds’ official club website.

“I didn’t know how to react, but it was a special moment. I saw all the fans going crazy.

“Obviously it would have been nice to get a point in the end, but on another day we get a point out of it and go home.”

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