Welsey Fofana scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea as the Blues beat Leeds to ease the pressure on manager Graham Potter.
After a run of just two wins in their past 15 games, there was a sense that three points were a must for Potter, despite insisting he retained the support of the club’s owners before the game.
The Blues made a blistering start and could have been 3-0 up inside 30 minutes.
Kai Havertz was one-on-one with Leeds keeper Illan Meslier, while Joao Felix smashed a shot from distance against the crossbar before Ben Chilwell prodded wide from an excellent position.
After that there was a growing sense of deja vu around Stamford Bridge as Chelsea faded while Leeds grew into the game, with Jack Harrison sending a free-kick over the bar before the break.
But Fofana ended Chelsea’s run of 396 minutes without a goal when he rose to head home from a corner early in the second half.
Leeds upped the pressure in the closing stages as the hosts dropped deep to try and hold on for a precious win, making for a nervous finale to the game for the home fans, but they held on to secure their second win this year.
Chelsea remain 10th despite the win while Leeds are 17th and one point above the relegation zone.
A pivotal result for Potter?
Saturday’s game felt like the start of a crucial few days for Potter with the visit of Leeds followed by a Champions League last-16 home tie on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund, who won the first leg 1-0.
Defeat in both games and it would have been hard to see how Potter would be able to survive as the pressure on his position increased.
But against a Leeds side fighting for survival and coming off the back of a morale-boosting win against Southampton in their previous league game, Chelsea on the whole put in the performance Potter and the club’s fans would have wanted.
There were big chances missed again and a nervy finish but Chelsea’s fifth goal of the year proved decisive.
If the Blues can follow this up by progressing in the Champions League, then this could prove to be the turning point Potter needs.