Football News

Chelsea 3-2 Leeds: Blues put EFL Cup final ‘bottle job’ behind them with FA Cup quarter-final progression

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 21:30, 28 February 2024

Chelsea put their disappointing League Cup final loss behind them by reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men secured a dramatic 3-2 win over Championship outfit Leeds United at Stamford Bridge and will not host Leicester City in the next round.

The Blues entered this fifth-round clash wounded from an extra-time loss to a depleted Liverpool squad – held together by several teenagers – leading to Gary Neville dubbing them ‘billion-pound bottlers’.


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“I don’t hear what he said but if you compare the age of the two groups, I think it is similar,” Pochettino said when told what Neville had called his team.

“We are a young team and nothing to compare with Liverpool because they finished also with a few young players. It is impossible to compare and he knows that. He knows the dynamics are completely different.

“I think it is not fair to talk in this way if he says that. But we are going to keep strong and believing in this project and see what we can do in the future.”

With the result still fresh in everyone’s mind, Chelsea was under intense pressure to bounce back, which they did, but it wasn’t straightforward.

Pochettino, who made five changes from Wembley, saw Jaidon Anthony put the visitors in front before ten minutes had been played. Still, Nicolas Jackson immediately equalised before Mykhailo Mudryk sealed the comeback.

However, the visitors weren’t going quietly into the night, with Anthony levelling proceedings early into the second half; a nervous Bridge sensed another brutal setback only for Conor Gallagher — who started on the bench — netting a 90th-minute winner.

His effort was also Chelsea’s first 90th-minute winning goal in an FA Cup match since John Terry’s strike against West Ham in February 2002.

From a historical perspective, this was the first FA Cup tie between Chelsea and Leeds since the 1970 final, which the Blues won after a replay.

Chelsea have progressed from 14 of their last 16 FA Cup fifth-round ties, failing only against Manchester City in 2013-14 and Manchester United in 2018-19, the latter remaining their last home defeat in the competition.

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