Premier League • England

Graham Potter told he needs rapid fix for two Chelsea strugglers with one lacking fitness as pundits name only positive from RB Salzburg draw

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling of Chelsea after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge

Graham Potter has been told he has plenty of work to do with his Chelsea side after their 1-1 Champions League draw with RB Salzburg, with two players in particular – including one summer signing – coming in for criticism.

The Blues – beaten in their opening Champions League match at Dinamo Zagreb last week – failed to home advantage count as the Austrians claimed a draw. Potter saw his new side take the lead through Raheem Sterling, only for Noah Okafor to cancel that out. And try as they might, a winner was just not coming for the Blues.

After the game, Potter spoke about the positives of his side. And he believes Chelsea did everything but win as he opened up on his attacking plans.

It all means Chelsea have just just three wins from their eight games played this season. And they look a side lacking cohesion and confidence, as pundits Peter Crouch and Joe Cole were quick to point out.

Indeed, they felt two players in particular looked more than a little out of sorts following the draw.

“Some positives,” Crouch told BT Sport. “Champions League though, Salzburg at home you would have been expected to win this game.

“They had chances to do that, I think there is a little bit of a lack of confidence at the moment in certain players. Certainly [Hakim] Ziyech who come on then you could see his shoulders were down. He didn’t look like a player full of confidence.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well the last few games. I think there’s a few players suffering with a little bit of a lack of confidence so that’s something he [Potter] really needs to address.”

Graham Potter told of one Chelsea positive

Despite the disappointment of the draw, Joe Cole insists there was something there for Potter to build on.

“There were signs of a shape already,” Cole said. “With how he wants to play, [there was a] better attitude, not better concentration, better in the defending but ultimately for Chelsea, Graham Potter will understand that you have to win these games in the Champions League.”

Highlighting his positive substitutions, Cole believes supporters will appreciate that after some more defensive-minded coaches in the past.

“I thought he was brave and bold with his substitutions. At the end of the game fans will respond to that.

“[Christian] Pulisic, Ziyech, [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek, [Armando] Broja… All the attacking players were on and they couldn’t get the win.

“Positive glimpses I would say, but there’s a lot of work for that man [Potter]. He has shown he was going to be bold in the Chelsea dugout.”

Another bright spark for Chelsea was goalscorer Sterling, who operated in a wider left-wing position.

Similar to that deployed by Leandro Trossard at Brighton, Sterling rose to the task and responded with a goal.

“We got Raheem in one-on-one situations quite often and the goal was a good result of that,” Potter said.

“It’s always irritating when you concede a goal. Overall the defensive performance was quite good, it’s just the little details we will have to improve.

“It has not been easy for the boys, they have responded to us really well over the last few days and it’s a point we will have to take and get better.

“The attitude has been fantastic, no complaints apart from the fact we have not taken three points.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will soon be in the goals

The good news for Potter is that the only way is up for Aubameyang. Granted, his Chelsea career has not got off to the best of starts. He is yet to open his account for the Blues since his summer.

However, it’s worth remembering that Aubayemang has been through a very difficult few weeks. His two transfers this calendar year alone would unsettle any player. However, he has been through a very tough personal ordeal with masked burglars breaking into his family home.

That attack left the player with a broken jaw, with the striker forced to play with a protective mask while the bone still heals. And The Athletic’s David Ornstein has lifted the lid on the harrowing attack on the player.

Aubameyang, though, is a goalscorer supreme and he’s proved a top bagsman wherever he has played. In time, the goals will come for Chelsea once Potter can get a tune from him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lasted until the 66th minute in the game before his withdrawal.

Assessing his performance for Sky Sports, Tim Sherwood claims the striker lacks fitness.

“I don’t think Aubameyang is fit. But we know he is a proven goalscorer in the Premier League and Chelsea certainly need a centre-forward,” he said.

READ MORECrouch says Tuchel sacking was not a ‘football decision’; sounds warning to new Chelsea boss Potter