Chelsea boss Potter comments on defeat to Southampton
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Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is reportedly keen to learn from Liverpool and Arsenal as he mulls over what to do with Graham Potter, who has endured a turbulent spell in charge of the Blues since replacing Thomas Tuchel in the dugout earlier this season. The former Brighton boss was backed to the tune of around £323million in the January transfer window but now finds himself under growing pressure to improve things quickly as a result of the club’s poor recent form.
Chelsea have only won once in the Premier League since the turn of the year and sit well adrift of the division’s top four as things stand, leading to speculation that Potter could soon be relieved of his duties after spending just a matter of months at Stamford Bridge. However, it seems as though the 47-year-old will be given the opportunity to put things right by Chelsea’s hierarchy in spite of his lacklustre managerial tenure to date.
That’s according to the Evening Standard, who claim that Chelsea are willing to hold back from sacking Potter as a result of their understanding that he will need time to lead a successful rebuild after a whirlwind January window in which nine players were signed. It is said that the board see Mikel Arteta’s early struggles at Arsenal as an example of managers needing patience in order to realise their full potential, with the Spaniard now widely regarded as one of the finest coaches in the Premier League.
There is similar admiration at Chelsea for the way Jurgen Klopp built up his Liverpool squad over his first three seasons at Anfield before they were able to challenge Manchester City for domestic honours on a consistent basis. This has led to Chelsea taking a reluctant approach when it comes to sacking Potter, although it remains to be seen how much longer this will be the case for if results do not improve as a matter of urgency.
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Chelsea’s supporters have also started to turn on Potter in recent weeks, which could put the club’s decision-makers in a tricky position if he fails to win them over in the not-too-distant future. He was booed off the pitch after Saturday’s humbling home defeat at the hands of Southampton and chose to acknowledge their frustrations in his post-match press conference but underlined his belief that things will improve over time as he continues to implement his chosen tactical approach.
“After a 1-0 defeat at home, any criticism you get is understandable,” Potter told reporters. “I think we have had a tough period and I think we have had lots of challenges in terms of integrating younger players into the Premier League, that’s how it is and I am sure there will be people out there who think that I’m the problem. I don’t think that they are right but I am not arrogant enough to say that their opinion isn’t worth articulating.”
Chelsea’s biggest struggles under Potter have come at the top end of the pitch, with the Blues having scored just 23 goals in the league so far this season compared with 51 for Arsenal and 60 for Manchester City. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to work on their chance conversion over the coming weeks and months, with Potter seemingly safe in his role for now in spite of the growing levels of backlash from the club’s fanbase.
Arsenal icon Paul Merson took aim at Chelsea’s lack of cohesion after their latest defeat to Southampton on Saturday, telling Sky Sports: “One is a team, the other is an absolute team of individuals. I’ve never seen anything like it. The players they’ve brought in – take away [Enzo] Fernandez because he’s a top holding midfield player – are all individual footballers.
“They all get on the ball and want to beat five or six players and there’s no passage of play. It was only when [Kai] Havertz and [Raheem] Sterling came on that there was a little bit of movement. [Mason] Mount gets eaten up because he passes the ball and the others are all dribbling it, so there’s no phases in the game. I was very disappointed, it was poor.”
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