Javi Gracia hoping history repeats as Leeds take on Chelsea
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Leeds head coach Javi Gracia is hoping history repeats itself in Saturday’s Premier League game at Stamford Bridge.
Gracia will take charge of his third game for Leeds, who beat Southampton last week to climb out of the bottom three before losing 2-0 in midweek at Fulham in the FA Cup.
Leeds are bidding for just their sixth league win of the season and former Watford boss Gracia recalled a 4-1 win against Chelsea in his third game in charge of the Hornets during the 2017-18 season.
The Spaniard said: “I remember it perfectly. I remember that game perfectly because it was my second (league) game, my first game at home.
“Like here, it was my third game. I played an FA Cup game, then Stoke and in my third game we won against Chelsea and I hope this year will be the same. My third game and I’ll try to get the same result.”
Chelsea boss Graham Potter is under huge pressure after two wins in 15 matches in all competitions.
One win in nine league games has left Chelsea in 10th place, eight points adrift of the last European slot occupied by London rivals Fulham in seventh.
But Gracia insisted his players will take no extra confidence from Chelsea’s current struggles.
“The confidence we have is the work we are doing, not about the rivals in this case,” the 52-year-old said.
“I respect their team a lot and what we expect is a very demanding game, a tough game and we have to be ready for that.”
Speculation over Potter’s future is already mounting after he replaced Thomas Tuchel in September and Gracia added: “The only way you change the fans’ opinions about you is good results. It’s the only way.
“All I can give is my opinion about Graham Potter and he’s a fantastic manager and I wish him all the best. But of course this next game I’ll try to win.”
Gracia considered his side unlucky to have lost their fifth-round FA Cup tie at Fulham, who progressed after two world-class goals from Joao Palhinha and Manor Solomon.
Leeds striker Georginio Rutter had one effort controversially ruled out and hit the post with a header and Gracia said there had been plenty of positives.
He added: “We created chances and we were a little bit unlucky. We didn’t finish with composure and we have to improve many things but I’m happy with the way we competed, always trying to improve other things.
“Now we are focusing on Chelsea knowing it will be a tough game. A great stadium against a great team. I think the players are focused.”
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