Graham Potter admits to finding challenges at Chelsea, after losing two out of his last three games


Graham Potter accepts that the honeymoon period is over and now is the time to find out who wants to make his relationship with Chelsea work.

After his impressive nine-game unbeaten start, two defeats in the last three have given Potter a better idea of the scrutiny that comes with the job.

When it was put to Potter that the current situation is akin to entering the second stage of a relationship where the learning about the other party – both good and bad – really begins, Potter said: ‘Yes, I can’t put it much better myself.’

‘Football is emotion. It’s about the results and so, therefore, that overrides everything but the coaching process is something that gets better with time because you go through the ups and downs and then you understand more about this person, who can come with us, who maybe we’re not on the right path together [with] how you can help them, how they can help you.’

The challenge ahead amid the increased spotlight is not one Potter is daunted by.

He said: ‘If I wanted a nice, easy life, I could have quite easily stayed at Brighton in the Premier League, signed a new contract and been absolutely okay.

‘And I wouldn’t have had too many questions about myself, pressure, sackings or anything like that.’

With a gruelling schedule, including eight out of 13 matches being away and injuries piling up realist Potter said: ‘It can get messy.’

On the plus side, he has experienced the tidy-up and how to stamp his mark on a club having done so at Ostersund, Swansea and Brighton.

Potter said it is ‘difficult’ to put a timescale on when that process starts to bear fruit with success in each transfer window and ‘how responsive they [players] are to the direction you want to go’ two of a number of factors.

He went on to explain: ‘The starting point at Brighton was we were a bottom three team in the Premier League and we’re trying to change the playing style.

‘You can imagine you get all the narratives that say “you can’t do that, you need to fight and need to do this” so you have to try and convince and you go through a process of convincing the players, working and developing the players, changing the players and over time, the team progresses, and then the team functions and everything is ok.

‘You have to go through it. There is discomfort and pain along the way. If you want to do something new, in my mind, you have to fail. It’d be wrong of me to say anything else. There’s no shortcut to it in my experience.

‘One of the reasons to come [to Chelsea] – there were many – is it’s a fantastic football club, potentially one of the best in the world that can compete for any major trophy.

‘I think we all know we’re not at that point now and we haven’t been for two, three or four years is the reality if you look at the league table, the points difference between the top two. So, how do you get there? That’s hard work and that’s pain and that’s suffering and that is moving forward, learning, developing and just driving it forward and that’s why we’re here.’

After Potter’s encouraging start to life at Stamford Bridge, the Brighton and Arsenal defeats have provided a reality check.

Things will not get much easier with trips to Manchester City, tonight, and Newcastle before the World Cup break.

Potter said: ‘We can improve a lot. That’s the challenge and what we’re looking to do.

‘It’s why we’re looking forward to the game [against City] and against Newcastle because that’s where you learn a lot about each other.’


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