Potter backs himself as Chelsea chief Boehly stands by his man for now

By Sports Desk January 07, 2023

Graham Potter is optimistic Todd Boehly will not prove as trigger-happy as Roman Abramovich while Chelsea fight to save their season.

Just one win from their last eight Premier League games has seen the Blues sink into mid-table, now 10 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

Hopes of reaching the Champions League qualifying places are fading, while Manchester City have already dumped them out of the EFL Cup, beaten them in the league, and could repeat the treatment in the FA Cup third round at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Chelsea have a Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund still to look forward to, but emerging from their present slump is paramount, especially for Potter's future as head coach.

He was prised away from Brighton and Hove Albion in September after owner Boehly ditched Champions League-winning boss Thomas Tuchel, in a move that had echoes of the ruthlessness of the Abramovich era.

Chelsea have been busy in the transfer market however, a sign they are prepared to invest heavily to bring results, with Potter the man responsible for getting the wins.

He is surprised there is intense scrutiny on him, saying it is "maybe different for me for some reason" as he pointed out how Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp needed time to build their teams at City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Comparing Chelsea now to the 19-year period when Abramovich called the shots, Potter said: "There's a completely different ownership than there was.

"This is hard for people to also get their head around because Chelsea for 20 years has been one thing, and now all of a sudden, it's different.

"But they still think back to what previously happened for 20 years. The reason for me to take the job was because you've got a chance to shape a club that's in a massive transitional period."

Potter said Chelsea have offered "fantastic" support and quipped that billionaire Boehly was "smarter than me, that's for sure".

"They understand the challenges that we have, and the direction we want to go in. I've been here four months, and five, six weeks of that have been lost to international football," he added.

"I think Pep was there a year before they won anything. And then obviously Mikel and Jurgen took a bit of time. But obviously it's maybe different for me for some reason."

Potter explained he shows anger at times and stressed he was not "some robot", while jokingly describing some reporters' questions as "stupid".

Addressing those reporters, Potter added: "There'll always be people that doubt. There will be people in here that will doubt, that's for sure. But I'm certainly not here to convince anybody. I'm here to do my work. And then if that convinces, then that's fine.

"I'm more confident now that we can achieve things than I was when I started the job because I understand the club and understand the players and understand what's needed. But obviously, with the past of Chelsea and the change of management, you can see why the questions are there."

Asked whether he recognised he was under pressure, Potter said: "I don't know, I don't read the newspapers, I stay away from social media."

He knows there is flak flying around though, and that some will never see the nuance.

"We've had a massive transition," Potter said. "Problems in terms of injuries don't make it easy to be stable. But it's sort of blah, blah, blah. You know people want to see results, and [they would say] 'Shut up Graham, what are you talking about, we need to win'."

Related items

  • Ilkay Gundogan makes FA Cup final history with quickfire goal inside 12 seconds Ilkay Gundogan makes FA Cup final history with quickfire goal inside 12 seconds

    Ilkay Gundogan set a new FA Cup final record when he scored after just 12 seconds against Manchester United.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the other quickfire goals from finals.

    Roberto Di Matteo (43 seconds) – Chelsea v Middlesbrough, 1997

    The Italian scored after just 43 seconds to set Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 win over, with Eddie Newton getting a late second.

    Dennis Wise started the move midway inside Chelsea’s half and found Di Matteo, who was still inside the centre circle.

    The midfielder was allowed to continue running by the Boro midfield before rifling in high, clipping the bar, past Ben Roberts in goal.

    Louis Saha (25 seconds) – Everton v Chelsea, 2009

    Di Matteo’s record stood for 12 years until striker Saha bettered it against Chelsea.

    A cross by Steven Pienaar was only half cleared by the Chelsea defence allowing Marouane Fellaini to nod the ball down for Saha.

    The former Manchester United striker still had plenty to do but swivelled to bury a fine first-time half-volley past Petr Cech.

    It failed to stop Chelsea, though, as Didier Drogba levelled 20 minutes later before Frank Lampard’s second-half winner.

    Ilkay Gundogan (12 seconds) – Manchester City v Manchester United, 2023

    The midfielder stunned United with a goal after just 12 seconds of this year’s final.

    He had actually taken kick-off and knocked the ball back to Stefan Ortega in the City goal.

    The goalkeeper launched the ball forward for Erling Haaland to nod it on.

    As Kevin De Bruyne challenged Victor Lindelof, the ball dropped for Gundogan to smash in a brilliant volley past the static David De Gea from 25 yards.

  • Kris Doolan believes Partick Thistle have Premiership credentials Kris Doolan believes Partick Thistle have Premiership credentials

    Kris Doolan believes Partick Thistle have all the ingredients of a cinch Premiership team as they stand on the brink of a return to the top flight.

    The Jags will take a 2-0 lead from the first leg of their play-off final against Ross County to Dingwall for the return game on Sunday.

    Doolan, who stepped up from the club’s academy to take over from Ian McCall in February – initially as interim boss – has total belief in his squad, the first team to finish fourth in the second tier to go all the way to the play-off final.

    Former Thistle striker Doolan, who lost a play-off final against Livingston in 2018, said: “Ian McCall built this squad and he deserves a lot of credit for that because it is a fantastic squad.

    “To me it is a Premiership squad and we have managed to find a shape and a style of play that suits us.

    “We play to our strengths but ultimately there are guys in there who have played hundreds of games at Premiership level.

    “It is not as if we are a young side who are wet behind the ears, we don’t understand what the games are all about. They know how to get through games.

    “You look in their eyes, they are desperate to be in the Premiership.

    “They have a one-track mind and that is what we have tried to instil. We have tried to instil a winning mentality, a winning environment and winning breeds winning.

    “I say that all the time but it becomes a habit and it is a habit that is hard to break but likewise if you are losing games, it is a hard habit to break that as well.

    “I have been on the flip side of it coming out the Premiership, I know what it is like in these play-off games, when there is so much at stake it is difficult to stop a team with momentum coming into the last game especially, even though you might be at home. It is still a difficult thing to stop.

    “We have had five games under real pressure in the play-offs but the players play as if there is no pressure. We have nothing to lose. We have everything to gain.

    “Ross County are the team who could potentially come out of the Premiership. But for us, we will go up there with the mentality to win and hopefully get the job done.”

  • Malky Mackay does not want his Ross County players to dwell on defeat Malky Mackay does not want his Ross County players to dwell on defeat

    Malky Mackay told his Ross County players to quickly forget their Maryhill misery to focus on overturning Partick Thistle’s cinch Premiership play-off final advantage.

    The Staggies lost 2-0 in the first leg at Firhill on Thursday night to leave themselves with a huge task in the return game in Dingwall on Sunday.

    County had 16-year-old defender Dylan Smith sent off in between Aidan Fitzpatrick’s early strike and Brian Graham’s late first-half goal which put the Championship outfit in the box seat in the tie.

    Boss Mackay is aware of the severe ramifications  of removal from the Premiership but said: “At the end of the game I had 10-15 minutes with them and I spoke about getting their disappointment out (of) the way just now.

    “By the time we get on that bus and go up the road I want them focused on recovering and nothing else but going out there with a positive mindset on Sunday afternoon.

    “It is half-time. We are 2-0 down with 90 minutes to go. The only thing that will be on their minds is going out there to beat Partick Thistle.”

    Mackay hopes the County fans turn out on Sunday to give their side a better chance of recovering the tie against a side who have gone 11 games unbeaten.

    Asked what his message to the Staggies supporters was, he said: “Just to keep sticking with us. They were great on Thursday night.

    “It is a long way to the Highlands and it was great that so many came down.

    “There was a wee bit of misfortune as far as the sending off, that changes the dynamics of the game but I think they will see players trying for the jersey.

    “You (have) seen the blocks that the players were putting in at the end and if nothing else you will see players that are trying really hard to make sure that we pull this back. So I would imagine that there will be a good crowd at Dingwall.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.