Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have backed Graham Potter to achieve what Thomas Tuchel could not at Chelsea in 2022/23.
The Graham Potter era got off to a shaky start after the former Brighton manager suffered what his predecessor warned about multiple times in previous interviews and press conferences- a lack of clinical edge in front of goal. Of course, things were not ever going to just change overnight with the Seagulls taking time to get into full flight before the rest of the Premier League took real note of the South Coast outfit.
But in this first act of what is expected to be a long era for Potter, he learned that all players are backing his methods and are eager to force their way into the thinking. It took only one defensive lapse from César Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva for RB Salzburg to breach the backline. Despite the disappointing draw, which saw Chelsea remain rock bottom of the UEFA Champions League Group E, Potter only wanted to focus on the positive application of his troops.
They gave everything. We’ve only got a point, and we’re disappointed with that, but I was very proud of how they acted today,” Tuchel’s successor said post-match in his press conference. “It’s not been easy for them either with the change of coach and everything that comes with that, but their response has been brilliant. They’ve acted really, really well: professional, honest, responsible.
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“So from an effort perspective, it was 100% there. Quality to get there often was good against a good opponent. We have to credit them for how they defended and how they created chances to attack us. But we managed it quite well for the period of the game, and as I said, their goalkeeper has made some good saves, and we just lacked that little bit to get the second goal.”
Tuchel’s assistant Arno Michels, who was present at the game, was alongside the German for all the successes achieved post the failed Frank Lampard project. A Champions League win built on a turgid-like defence which was very Jose Mourinho 04/05-like. However, once holes started to appear in that regard, the attacking woes that have always been present were highlighted even more in the latter days of the Tuchel era.
Sterling and colleague Loftus-Cheek have supported Potter to accomplish what Tuchel was unable achieve with his new strategies—getting Chelsea to gel in the attack. Something Blues supporters expect to observe in the future as they call for their new manager to deliver a better package of attacking football.
Sterling remarked via internal club media, “It is still early days with him, but he is getting his message over, and the guys are receiving it well, but it’s about gelling time.
In a separate interview, Loftus-Cheek added: “It’s been very fantastic. They are genuinely kind folks. Nice to chat to and learn the coach’s preferences for our style of play. But repetition just leads to that, and it will happen. We genuinely are loving the upcoming stage.
Patrick-Emerick Aubameyang and Kepa Arrizabalaga were two more players to offer their full backing to Potter and his new managerial team. After a disappointing draw in his first game against Salzburg and a two-week international break, Potter will now need to wait till October to try and get his first win as head coach.
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