Leeds midfielder Lee Peltier believes they are playing Chelsea at just the right time with the Blues going through what the skipper describes as a “sticky patch”.
The two face off in the quarter-final of the Capital One Cup at Elland Road tonight with the visitors coming off the back of a World Club Championship final defeat to Corinthians and poor league form which has seen them pick up just seven points from a possible 21.
Rafael Benitez’s side will also have to battle jet lag after their return flight from Yokohama was delayed, while Leeds have won four of their last five and can take heart West Yorkshire neighbours Bradford, who shocked Arsenal last week.
“They’re going through a bit of a sticky patch at present but they’ve still got world-class players and with those and the manger it’s going to be very tough for us no matter what situation they’re in,” Peltier said.
“We’re going to have to play really well that’s for sure. The way we play when we put pressure on teams, we keep going at them and it’s relentless. If we start off like that, we can get them on the back foot and that will give us a big chance.
“There’s a lot of pressure on Chelsea and they will be expected to beat us but we won’t go out there without fighting and if we put on a good performance there’s a good chance that we can get a result.
“They’re one of the top teams in the world with some of the best players in the world. It’s going to be a bigger scalp if we beat a team like them.”
And Peltier also has a lot of respect for their interim manager Rafael Benitez who handed him his Liverpool debut in a league cup tie against Reading in 2006.
“I was at Liverpool for 10 years and he was there for three or four of those years,” he said.
“I worked under him for quite a bit and he gave me my Liverpool debut so I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“He’s one of the top managers out there and his CV shows he’s won a lot of cups and he has great experience.”
Benitez managed Chelsea striker Fernando Torres during his most successful spell in English football at Liverpool and Peltier believes the Spaniard is the right man to help improve the striker’s fortunes at Stamford Bridge.
“If anyone’s going to do it, then it will be him, wont it? He brought him over to the English game and Torres’ best years were under Rafa,” he added.
“I don’t really know what’s changed in him, I don’t know if he had problems personally or with the manager.
“All I can say is that at Liverpool he looked like he was enjoying himself and was playing with a smile on his face. Maybe that’s the reason.
“I don’t fear him, he’s a good player and obviously I’ve got to be on my guard and have got to play to the best of my ability to play against a top-class player like that. It brings out the best in you.”