Premier League • England

Graham Potter warns ‘destabilising’ factor could threaten ‘surreal’ Chelsea situation, amid injury update

Graham Potter, October 2022

Chelsea boss Graham Potter says there are small signs of progress since he took over which he is looking to advance before the World Cup.

The Blues have endured a rollercoaster start to the season, featuring a mammoth transfer window and a change of manager. There was of course a risk with sacking Thomas Tuchel given the summer signings were designed for him.

Ultimately, though, Chelsea part-owner Todd Boehly felt former Brighton boss Potter’s arrival would be for the greater good.

Potter has had a stop-start beginning to his Stamford Bridge tenure due to postponements in September. However, he remains unbeaten after three games, with one draw and two wins.

And the two wins over Crystal Palace and AC Milan, respectively, have got Chelsea back on track in both the Premier League and the Champions League.

However, Potter insisted on Friday that it is premature to assess whether the Blues are on track for a top-four finish in the former competition.

“I think we’ve made a little bit of progress in terms of from the first day to now, as you expect and hope,” he said.

“There’s a long way to go. We have to focus on the next month as simple as it is with the incredible amount of games we have to play.

“I’d rather than think too much at the end of the season, just focus on the next game.”

Wolves at Stamford Bridge is Chelsea’s next test. It will be Potter’s second Premier League match in charge of his new club to match his two European matches.

Graham Potter happy at Chelsea progress

He said of his journey with Chelsea so far: “I was thinking before the game it’s quite a surreal situation.

“It’s very rare your first game is a Champions League match and you haven’t got that much information in terms of how much you know about the team, you know our team. Three or four weeks on you just know more.

“The guys have had more interaction, more opportunities to get to know them better. I think that was a result of that but it’s only a small step, we want to keep moving forward and I’m so far happy with the progress that the team has made.”

And it is now full steam ahead for the London club, with a busy October schedule set before the World Cup.

Potter said: “It’s a really intense period where it’s important to have some options. I think we have to manage the balance between change and consistency. If things happen to be inconsistent always it can be destabilising.”

Potter revealed that Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is only a strain and will keep him out for around a month.

He also ruled midfielder N’Golo Kante out of Saturday’s clash. The manager insisted that he wants the Frenchman 31-year-old to be “ready to play consistently over a period” in order to get the “best” working relationship with him.

And on a Stamford Bridge return for Diego Costa, Potter said: “He’s a Wolves player and he’s going to come and be ready to play. Everyone at this club knows how good he’s been and I’ve followed his career from afar and have huge respect for him and what he’s achieved as a player.”

Blues on right track under Potter

Chelsea have shown promising signs in the early weeks under their new manager.

And the fact he has remained unbeaten despite the disrupted schedule is another positive.

Potter can now get properly stuck into improving his Chelsea team in the weeks that remain before the World Cup.

Wolves, who are without a permanent manager after sacking Bruno Lage, is a potential banana skin for the hosts.

Still, Chelsea will hope Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can continue his fine form in front of goal. The Gabon international has netted two goals in two matches.

Elsewhere, centre-back Trevoh Chalobah is filling in for Fofana at the back and doing fine in that role.

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