Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says Raheem Sterling “stepped up” by scoring his first Chelsea goals to give the 10-man Blues victory over a Leicester side enduring a torrid start to the Premier League season.

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The £50m summer arrival’s deflected effort looped into the top corner to put the hosts in front 67 seconds after the interval, before doubling their lead from Reece James’ inviting ball, much to the relief of Conor Gallagher.

Chelsea had been completely dominant until Gallagher was sent off before the half-hour mark for a second booking in the space of seven first-half minutes.

That allowed Leicester back into the game and they had the ball in the net before the break, but Daniel Amartey’s effort was ruled out with Harvey Barnes harshly adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Barnes did get his goal following a neat one-two with Jamie Vardy, but only after the Foxes were two goals down.

Vardy twice went close and Ayoze Perez struck the bar as the visitors pressed for a late leveller that never came, meaning Brendan Rodgers’ side have now lost three games in a row since an opening-day draw with Brentford.

“The goals were crucial because they gave us belief and the boost that it was possible,” Tuchel said of Sterling. “They were responsible for the win.

“It was needed. We need him to score, it’s what he does and he will score. I could feel he wasn’t happy – he wants to score more and have more chances.

“We played in a more aggressive shape in the first half for 25 minutes and then we are a man down, so we needed him to step up – he did, and he did what he always does. He will score, I’m convinced, and he will create chances.”

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Tuchel had to watch this match from the stands after his sending-off in the tussle that followed the draw with Tottenham, but said before this fixture he is “enjoying the challenge” of building a new side.

He will have definitely enjoyed seeing one of his new arrivals earn Chelsea their first win at Stamford Bridge this season.

Sterling was influential and put the hosts in front with a curling effort that took a deflection off Amartey to beat a despairing Danny Ward in the Leicester goal.

The former Manchester City winger struck a post moments later from a Marc Cucurella pass – another summer purchase – but the 27-year-old did not have to wait long for his second Blues goal, arriving to tap in a delicious low cross from the right from James, who earlier struck the outside of a post with a thumping half volley.

Sterling also teed up Ruben Loftus-Cheek early on but the midfielder was denied by Ward when he really should have put the hosts in front.

Youri Tielemans then hauled Loftus-Cheek down in the box and Sterling was waiting to take the spot-kick only for VAR to rule Kai Havertz offside by the narrowest of margins.

All this came amid a chaotic few moments for Gallagher, who, having been booked in the 22nd minute, needlessly dived in on Harvey Barnes to stop a Foxes break and was shown a red card – Chelsea’s third in as many games.

The Blues were without boss Tuchel and defender Kalidou Koulibaly following his red card against Leeds, and believe the answer to any defensive issues is a talented young centre-back currently training with their opponents’ under-23s.

Reports suggesting a deal of about £70m for Wesley Fofana has been agreed dominated the build-up to this game, and the 21-year-old Frenchman was not named in the Leicester squad because of personal reasons, with Rodgers saying he trained elsewhere this week.

However, neither boss would be drawn on the potential transfer after the game.

And while Fofana may be the future of the Blues’ defence, Thiago Silva showed they can still rely on their experienced campaigners as the 37-year-old helped the 10 men survive wave after wave of late pressure.

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Rodgers has insisted he is not feeling the pressure despite Leicester’s poor start but he has now lost three successive games for the first time in eight years and the Foxes are without a top-flight win in their opening four for the first time since 2003.

The Leicester boss may have felt hard done by when Amartey’s effort was ruled out for a foul by Barnes on Mendy with the game goalless, but the visitors then found themselves 2-0 down despite their numerical advantage.

Fofana’s impending exit may mean Leicester belatedly spend some money this window – goalkeeper Alex Smithies on a free transfer the only arrival so far – with Rodgers’ outfit looking in need of reinforcements.

They could be bottom of the league by the end of the weekend with the close of the transfer window fast approaching.

“We were unlucky not to draw, but to lose is disappointing,” said Rodgers. “We knocked on the door a lot. There was a lot of good for us but we’re disappointed with the result.”

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