The past ten days must have been one of the toughest for Graham Potter as he continues to build his team at Stamford Bridge and just as one might think he’s settling in new drama surfaces in the Blue camp.
It was on Wednesday evening that the Graham Potter timeline of the new Chelsea era got underway. And it wasn’t quite the breathtaking start many were hoping for as the Blues were held to a frustrating draw against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League.
Given the whirlwind week that preceded the game at Stamford Bridge, the result should perhaps have come as no surprise. There were less than 48 hours between the decision to sack Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea head coach after 19 months in charge and replace him with Potter, who had impressed at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Then came the cancellation of Chelsea’s trip to Fulham following the death of Queen Elizabeth II – and the decision to postpone this weekend’s visit of Liverpool followed soon after. Potter did have time to work with his players at Cobham ahead of the clash with Salzburg, something that was evident in the tactical approach taken against the Austrian side.
Chelsea will have to improve in the weeks ahead, especially if they are to escape their Champions League group and move into the Premier League top four. In that respect, there is pressure on Potter. But that is also the case for the club’s new ownership group, of which Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are front and center.
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It was that duo who delivered the news of Tuchel’s sacking, approached Potter with their vision, and then hired the English coach. They will also be pivotal in the role of hiring a sporting director in the weeks ahead and it was somewhat fortuitous that the favourite for the role, Christoph Freund, was in town this week with Salzburg. That appointment will be crucial in the club’s future.
That is one of the many big decisions Boehly have to take moving forward; the American billionaire’s comments at a business leadership conference in America have also caused a stir and created plenty of debate among pundits and supporters alike.
As always when it comes to the Blues, there is much to debate and discuss, especially given the rather dramatic past ten days. However, it is a big relief that Potter will have this weekend and the break to put things together and gain more grounds in Chelsea.