Graham Potter sack talk latest: Boss holds crisis talks as Chelsea boss offers three reasons for struggles
Graham Potter has described the Chelsea manager’s position as “the hardest job in football” with reports growing he is edging closer to the sack.
The 47-year-old Englishman stepped into the Stamford Bridge hotseat in September as a replacement for the sacked Thomas Tuchel. The German was unceremoiously dumped by new co-owner Todd Boehly, who sought a change of direction.
But the old adage that in football ‘you should be careful what you wish for’ has quickly come true, with Chelsea seemingly in freefall under Potter.
Indeed, reports he is facing the sack just four months into his reign appear to be growing louder by the week. And with Alan Shearer recently calling him out on the back of their 4-0 FA Cup trouncing at Manchester City, the heat is very much on.
During his time in charge, Chelsea have won just six from 19 matches. And that bleak run of form has seen the Blues plummet down the Premier League table. They are currently sat in 10th place, a huge 10 points adrift of Manchester United in fourth.
Realistically, the only trophy Potter can win this season is the Champions League. They face Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 next month for a place in the quarter-finals.
Indeed, with just one win from their last nine matches – a 2-0 home success over Bournemouth – Potter is under enormous pressure.
And with Chelsea seemingly already considering potential successors, a timeline for Potter facing the sack has been revealed.
However, the Blues boss is not prepared to give up without a fight. He has fought hard to work his way up the coaching ladder – and he’s not willing to give in at the first sign of difficulty.
Potter holds crisis talks with four Chelsea stars
In an effort to help them overcome their slump, Potter has reportedly held talks with four senior Chelsea men.
And in a bid to reverse their fortunes, the embattled boss has held a summit with first-team leaders Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
Quoted by The Sun, Potter said: “I spoke really at length yesterday with Thiago, Aspi, Jorgi, Kova – we had a really good conversation. They again showed their qualities as people.
“They were honest, articulated their concerns well and articulated their positivity and their responsibility. And I think we are in a place where we can move forward.
“It is an experienced team. The players are honest and they want to take responsibility. They want to improve, they want to win. There are a lot there, we are quite fortunate.
“But at the same time, we are in a tough moment and there are challenges that affect the players as well. They are human beings.
“Players are paid to do their jobs, but they are not robots. They are still affected by results and things that are happening in terms of the transition phase of the club. But I have been really impressed.”
Potter will hope the clear-the-air meeting helps Chelsea back on track. They face Fulham on Thursday night at Craven Cottage in a match that is probably seen as ‘must win’ from a Chelsea point of view.
Potter has three reasons behind Chelsea slump
With Potter already facing questions over his future, the struggling manager reckons the Chelsea job is “the hardest in football”.
Furthermore, he has offered three reasons why the club finds themselves where they are. And without pointing any fingers, he feels the ownership change, a chaotic and expensive summer transfer window, together with an injury crisis, have all been significant factors.
“Change is a challenge in any organisation. Listen, I am sure that the changes happened because of events outside of this and us. It’s not like there’s been a coup,” he said, referring to sanctions on Roman Abramovich by the UK Government that forced their change of ownership.
“This is what it is. We have to deal with the new and we have to build things up again because things have changed, things have gone and left. That’s part of the challenge to come and I understood that things would be difficult from a leadership perspective.
“It is a challenge, stimulating and ridiculously hard. I think it is probably the hardest job in football because of that leadership change and the expectation – because rightly where people see Chelsea.
“I obviously didn’t think we’d lose 10 first-team players but that’s where we are at. All I can do is speak to you guys honestly, give my perspective and understand the criticism if you lose.”
Asked about their recuitment policy, Potter again offered his honest opinion. Chelsea spent close to £280m out on eight players over the summer.
Potter on Chelsea transfer spending
And in January already, they have also brought in four new signings, with Joao Felix the latest.
“I think this club was run a certain way for 20 years and run really well,” he added. “I have a lot of respect for the previous owner and what they achieved and did. It is fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re not here anymore and you’ve lost all that leadership.
“It’s a new ownership group, everything has changed pretty quickly. When you look at everything that’s happened for the last six to 12 months, it is an incredible amount that’s happened. Sometimes that can manifest itself in different things and in different ways.
“I think it would be disrespectful, almost, to think that’s gone and expect it to pick up with all the new staff, structures and people. Lots of things went and you have to try to build it up again.
“At the same time you’ve still got Chelsea with the demands and expectations. But the reality of where the club is in terms of establishing itself as a well-run football club that functions well in a really competitive environment – maybe we’re not there yet.
“In my head, I think that’s quite easy to understand and get. I know there’s a lot of people that don’t see it that way. I am trying to explain but I also acknowledge that I am the head coach. And when we lose a game of football, I’m the one to blame. They don’t really want to hear from me in terms of that perspective. They want to hear about a team and I get it.”
READ MORE: Talk growing that Aubameyang will return to former club with Chelsea set to cut their losses