EPL

Potter admits Silva 'fortunate' to have avoided red card

By Sports Desk October 01, 2022

Graham Potter admitted Chelsea were "fortunate" not to have Thiago Silva sent off in their late 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Silva was caught in possession and deliberately handled the ball to prevent Jordan Ayew from breaking clean through on goal in Saturday's Premier League contest.

Palace, who were 1-0 up at that point through an early Odsonne Edouard goal, were furious that referee Chris Kavanagh only showed the 38-year-old defender a yellow card.

Patrick Vieira was himself cautioned by the official for refusing to let the matter pass, and opposite number Potter accepted Chelsea could have been a man light.

"It was a 50-50 one we've come out on the right side of I think," he said at his post-match news conference. "I think it's one that we've been fortunate with.

"The fact it's quite a way from the goal has maybe helped us a bit and there are covering defenders. But I can understand Patrick's frustration."

Vieira did not want to be drawn into discussing the performance of referee Kavanagh, but made clear his unhappiness at the decision.

"It's difficult for me to understand and accept it, so sometimes it's better for me to be really quiet and not talk about it," he told reporters.

"I don't want to talk about it because I believe the referee got it wrong. If I really say what I think, I will be in trouble. 

"It's better for me not to talk about it. I don't understand the decision and don't want to talk about it. There is a referee, there is VAR, and they are making decisions – we move on."

Palace's frustrations only heightened when Silva nodded down a Reece James pass for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to lash in Chelsea's equaliser before half-time.

In another cruel blow for the hosts, substitute Conor Gallagher – voted Palace's Player of the Year during last season's loan spell – scored a 90th-minute winner, ensuring Potter picked up a victory in his first league game in charge of Chelsea.

Having also recovered from behind to beat West Ham last month, Chelsea have won back-to-back league games after conceding first for the first time since December 2016.

"We're delighted with the result," Potter told BBC Sport. "It's a tough place to come. I thought we started quite well but conceded from the first action into the box.

"Credit to the boys, they recovered well and did not let their heads go down. It was nice to get an equaliser and get back in the game.

"We had to survive moments as they are a good side with dangerous players. To be a goal down and come away with three points is fantastic so credit to the players.

"There's character, that's for sure. They could've felt sorry for themselves after conceding the goal but the players stood up all the way through. There was a collective spirit among the players. We are delighted with the three points."

Aubameyang fired a blank in his first two Chelsea appearances, both coming in the Champions League, but found the net with a clinical half-volley on the swivel.

He has now scored on his first Premier League game for both Arsenal (against Everton in February 2018) and Chelsea, with this his fifth goal against Palace in the competition.

"It was an important goal," Potter said. "He has been working hard to get himself up to Premier League fitness and I have been really impressed with him. 

"But any forward will tell you it is important for them to score and it was an important goal for us."

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