Daniel James blame free, says Jesse Marsch, as Leeds United loss to Chelsea edges them closer to relegation

Jesse Marsch refused to blame his Leeds United players after they shot themselves in the foot for the second time in a matter of days with a 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea.

As against Arsenal on Sunday, Leeds went behind in the first five minutes and compounded their misery when a key player was sent off for a reckless tackle inside half an hour. Like Luke Ayling, Dan James’s season will be ended by suspension.

James tackled Mateo Kovacic with both feet off the ground and the studs of one went into the Croatian midfielder’s left leg, almost certainly ruling him out of Saturday’s FA Cup final.

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Leeds lost 3-0 and remain in the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference from Burnley, who have a game in hand. So do Everton, whose lead over the Whites is two points after a 0-0 draw at Watford.

Seeing red, again: Leeds United’s Dan James received a straight red card for his tackle on Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic at Elland Road last night. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

“Guys are gutted because we’re not giving ourselves the chance we want,” said Marsch, whose team did not have a shot on target. “That part hurts.

“One thing for sure is I’m not going to blame anyone.

“Our guys come every day and do everything they can, they stick together, they fight for each other. Even on the third goal (scored by Romelu Lukaku) you see guys diving around the box doing everything they can to keep themselves in this league, in this match.

“I love these players, they fight till the end and we’ve just got to find ways to reward ourselves.”

Leeds United's Robin Kock outruns Chelsea's Marcos Alonso. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Marsch, who said Raphinha’s substitution was precautionary because of cramp, lost Jack Harrison to injury. The American coach called on his team to show resilience in the final two matches of the season.

“Certainly we want to learn from these moments so we don’t repeat these kind of mistakes but we have six points left (to play for) – the first come on Sunday against Brighton (then they travel to Brentford the following week),” he said.

“We have to do everything we can to recover, to stay mentally strong, to be ready for the next challenge.”

Match report: Page 22

Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch shows his disbelief at Dan James red card with forth official Kevin Friend. (Picture: Tony Johnson)