Though he hasn’t won over too many since his switch to Stamford Bridge, Graham Potter clearly has an ally in Stan Collymore.
Writing in his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, the former Liverpool striker turned pundit extolled his admiration for the ex-Brighton and Hove Albion manager, and suggested that he just needs to show the fans that there is, and will be, progress from this point in the season.
“Chelsea finally got a win, albeit an unconvincing one against Leeds, but it buys Graham Potter time, and time isn’t his friend at the moment. We know there have been rumours about the Chelsea board looking at this man or that man, but that by and large the important people on the Chelsea board are determined for Potter to succeed,” he said.
“I hope he does, and I think there is a window there for him to secure his position – it doesn’t matter how the wins come, as long as you’re picking up three points it keeps the wolf from the door for another few weeks. Potter just needs to get Chelsea into an acceptable position now.
“[…] I think Potter is a very good coach, I really admire him, and have spoken before in this column about how I bumped into him on holiday and chatted football, and I think, just as we’re seeing with Eddie Howe having relative success with Newcastle, it’s important for English coaching that these guys do well.”
Of course, time is rarely on the side of club managers when the results are going as well as they should be, and the incredible financial outlay by Todd Boehly in the summer is evidently weighing heavily on Potter’s shoulders.
Invariably it’s always the manager who gets in the neck from fans and pundits alike, and the pressure can build to such an extent that it leaves the owners no options.
But what about the players? Particularly those that underperform on a weekly basis.
Collymore certainly wasn’t holding back on that score and ripped into Chelsea’s new penalty taker, Kai Havertz.
The German, who scored the winner in the Champions League final against Manchester City in 2021, was apparently highly-rated when he came to west London in a deal worth £75.8m from Bayer Leverkusen, per Sky Sports.
“One problem for Potter is his attack, and particularly Kai Havertz. Big things were expected of him but he just hasn’t delivered, and I think it’s because he’s a jack of all trades and a master of none.,” Collymore wrote.
“[…] When you look at Havertz, you wonder what is it that he does especially well, and the answer for me is nothing […] Roberto Firmino scored a lot of goals for Liverpool, but his main skill was that he started the press, held it up, and he did those two things really well. You never thought he’s going to get 35 goals a season, that’s Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane. With Havertz, he needs to find that kind of identity, and at this stage of his career he just hasn’t got it yet.”
With a couple of months of the season left, both manager and player need to get their heads down and work hard if they want Chelsea to have a reasonably successful end to the campaign.