The Blues boss, who was only appointed in September, is facing a difficult period in west London, which was only worsened by Thursday night’s defeat by Manchester City. The loss leaves Chelsea languishing in tenth – 10 points outside the top four with neighbours Brentford and Fulham above them.
Potter made the step up to the two-time European champions following his impressive work at Brighton, but is still looking to get a tune out of his side. Recent form does not make for good reading: Chelsea have won just one of their last eight games, losing four in that time.
Boehly took a long-term view after sacking Thomas Tuchel, handing Potter a five-year deal worth £50million. He believes the Englishman can create a winning team by developing the players at his disposal, coupled with financial investment, and will not sack him even if Chelsea finish outside the top four.
The American’s approach is in stark contrast to that of former supremo Roman Abramovich, who employed 14 managers during his two-decade-long ownership. The oligarch very much took a short-term approach with his appointments, which proved a successful strategy but resulted in few lengthy managerial stays.
Potter is out to prove himself at a major club, with his only two jobs in the United Kingdom coming at Swansea and Brighton. He has inherited a squad built by Tuchel, which had over £200m spent on it in the summer. Potter will no doubt want to put his own stamp on the playing group, with January his first opportunity.
The Chelsea boss clearly sees positives despite his side’s poor run of form. They were edged out by City, who got a second-half winner courtesy of Riyad Mahrez. Prior to that, the Blues had hit the post and Potter was impressed with their showing against the champions.
He said: “The lads gave everything, it was spirited and we had some opportunities against a top team. I liked what we tried to do against a top side. We were competitive and had spirit on the pitch, courage in attack and took responsibility at the back. Apart from the result, as we hate to lose, I’m proud of the players.”
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Despite Potter’s optimism, tenth is not a place Chelsea are accustomed to being. He acknowledges that things must improve but called on those watching to “look at the whole context”.
He said: “You have to take responsibility when we’re not playing well but, at the same time, you hope people look at the whole context in terms of what we’ve had to deal with. Emotions are high. We’ll try to ride out the storm and I think the crowd appreciated the performance and were behind the team tonight. Our supporters were fantastic and got behind the team in a great way.”
Chelsea’s injury list continues to stack up as Potter was forced to withdraw Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic before the interval. Mason Mount is also sidelined as the club’s resources continue to be tested.