Leeds United: ‘Positive’ thinking for Kalvin Phillips in relegation scrap

Kalvin Phillips insists Leeds United remain positive about escaping relegation from the Premier League but said they were tired and not concentrating properly against Chelsea.

The Whites suffered a 3-0 defeat after a straight red card for Dan James compounded Mason Mount’s fourth-minute goal.

The defeat leaves them in the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference with just two matches, against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford, to play. Burnley and Everton, who are two points further ahead, have three.

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“I don’t know whether it’s nerves,” said Phillips after a third straight defeat, all of which have seen a senior player end their season with an ill-judged tackle.

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips carries a young fan off the pitch at the end of the Chelsea game. Picture: Tony Johnson

“I just think the pressure is on, we know that, we try to go out and not show it and sometimes maybe it does look like that.

“But from inside the camp it’s always been positive, we have always tried to stick to our gameplan and you have to adapt when things like that happen.”

He did say, though, he felt the effects of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal, where the team played again played an hour with 10 men because of Luke Ayling’s dismissal, had been a factor on Wednesday.

“You can see from our performance that we were very tired after Arsenal and we were a man down early in the first half again which didn’t make it easy,” said the England midfielder.

Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

“But there’s nothing we can do about it now, we tried our best and we have to do that in the next game.

“It must be something where maybe we are not quite concentrating early on in the game and obviously the challenge happens and we get a red card and it just makes it even more difficult from there.

“But we dug deep and it shows everything about us that even with 10 men we are still try to play, we still try to get close to people and we will have to do that in the last two games.”

Should Burnley win at Tottenham Hotspur at noon on Sunday, Leeds will know defeat at home to Brighton will effectively send them down should Everton pick up even a point at home to Brentford in the 4.30pm kick-off. That worst-case scenario of results would leave Leeds needing some record-breaking final-week scorelines to avoid relegation.