Thomas Tuchel blasts Kalidou Koulibaly after Chelsea player’s red card vs Leeds
Thomas Tuchel has criticised his defender Kalidou Koulibaly after he was sent off in Chelsea’s humiliating 3-0 loss at Leeds on Sunday.
It was a day to forget for Chelsea, who were easily beaten by a rampant and energetic Leeds side, courtesy of goals from Brenden Aaronson, Rodrigo and Jack Harrison.
None of the Blues players could say they played well, with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and midfielder Conor Gallagher especially struggling, but late on in the game it was Koulibaly who took the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Having been shown a first yellow in the opening minutes for a shirt tug on Aaronsen, Koulibaly was shown a second and given his marching orders for foolishly pulling down Joe Gelhardt in the 84th minute, when the match was already decided.
Tuchel, who bizarrely claimed that his side were superior despite the poor performance and result, was unsurprisingly not too pleased with the 31-year-old’s conduct.
‘It is a bit of a reflection of frustration, and it cannot happen,’ the Chelsea head coach said post-match.
‘We cannot get frustrated in the Premier League. It is a pure joy to play games in an atmosphere like this.
‘We should just do it and accept it. It is not okay, and it is not good.’
Koulibaly, who signed over the summer from Napoli, will now miss Chelsea’s next game against Leicester on Saturday and has left Tuchel with even less options in central defence.
Including the Senegalese international, there are only four natural centre-backs currently at Stamford Bridge, which could become three if Trevoh Chalobah gets his reported loan move, not ideal given Tuchel’s preference is to play a back-three.
Right-back Reece James played at centre-back in Chelsea’s last two matches, while fellow full-back Marc Cucurella is also capable of moving into the back-three, but it is far from ideal and as such the club has been linked with signing a new defender before the transfer deadline.
Asked if the Koulibaly suspension meant that those efforts needed to be stepped up, Tuchel replied: ‘I don’t know. We need to wait.
‘The transfer period is still open. It gets later and later, and we need to focus on what we have and what we can do.
‘We can obviously play at a high level, but we lost track when there was no need. We were not forced to lose track. Everything was going well.
‘We can win with this team in Leeds, everything was going well, and we had goalscoring opportunities. It went the other way and I think it was more our fault than anyone else’s credit.’
Chelsea are currently pursuing a move for Leicester’s Wesley Fofana, but while they have reportedly agreed personal terms with the 21-year-old, the Foxes have rejected two bids for the centre-back as they hold out for an offer of over £80million.