Twenty-three matches, eight wins, seven draws and eight losses, tenth place in the Premier League, 23 points adrift of the league leaders and 11 points adrift of the Champions League places. After spending over €500 million over two transfer windows, this is where Chelsea find itself. In between all these, the club had also sacked their Champions League manager Thomas Tuchel.
Results have not improved under his successor Graham Potter as the club now face the serious threat of missing out on the Champions League unless they win the tournament this year. However, despite that, Potter has the backing of the top management, including owner Todd Beohley.
This is even after they spent close to €300 million in the winter transfer window bringing in players such as the Ukrainian sensation Mykhaylo Mudryk and World Cup-winning midfielder Enzo Fernandez. So, why is Potter, a relatively inexperienced coach for top clubs, being so much leeway while Tuchel, who brought the second Champions League title to Stamford Bridge sacked early in the current season.
Various factors are at play that have afforded Graham Potter the luxury of time unavailable to Tuchel.
Graham Potter is a team man
One thing everyone knows about Thomas Tuchel is his bold nature. The German, throughout his career, has been this figure who is unafraid of expressing his opinion in public. This included calling out his team players if they were not playing up to the mark. And his upfront nature didn’t change during his time at Chelsea.
However, Boehly didn’t like his criticism as he thought it was bringing a bad name to the club and his ownership style. Graham Potter, on the other hand, is a different personality who is usually calm in public and chooses to express his genuine emotions in private. This has impressed the top hierarchy at the club, who want a manager exactly like Potter as they navigate the early years under the new ownership.
Potter has maintained his composure and has not blamed any players or the administration for the failings at the club. Instead, he has said that rebuilding a club like Chelsea will take time and patience from the club’s staff and fans.
4 – In 2023, Chelsea have scored just four goals in nine matches in all competitions, failing to score in five of those games. Indeed, they have drawn a blank in more matches this calendar year so far than any other Premier League club. Lacking. pic.twitter.com/jqg8Idgpn8
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2023
Graham Potter rewarded for leaving Brighton mid-season
While Chelsea are languishing in the tenth position, Potter’s previous club Brighton are currently four points above them in the league. This comes after the Seagulls lost Potter and their best player Leandro Trossard. Due to this, Chelsea know the enormous risk he took by leaving Brighton in between the season and joining Chelsea, a club that has witnessed all the chaos a club can endure.
So, Potter has the confidence of the top administration, who believe that Potter has a clear plan which will make the club a leading force in England and Europe. However, they also think it will take time for Potter to get the players used to his tactics.
And they have valid reasoning for backing him. First, we must remember that Potter was the same man who took Ostersund, a lower-tier club in Sweden, to the knockout round of the Europa League, where they defeated Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium. The club is currently in the second tier of Swedish football, which shows how remarkable of a job Potter had done at the club. His exploits at Brighton are just as impressive, but it took time, so Chelsea have placed such trust in him.
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The Mikel Arteta, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola example
Mikel Arteta, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are among the top managers in the Premier League and world football. However, each manager’s start to their Premier League journey was far from perfect. Klopp and Guardiola qualified for the Champions League by a whisker in their first full season.
Mikel Arteta fared even worse, failing to finish in the top four in his first three seasons. However, all that patience has paid off for Arsenal, who are top of the league, and for Liverpool and Manchester City, for whom Klopp and Guardiola have won multiple trophies.
Analysing these examples, it is clear why Chelsea thinks he deserves another season, especially with a pre-season that will make a massive difference to the season. On top of that, Chelsea have also lost several experienced stars during the summer transfer windows who were replaced with talented but inexperienced players.
And in the club’s view, these players need time and patience, which will allow them to get to pace with the Premier League standards and make Chelsea a top force. Arsenal are already replicating this model with its young players, which gives more hope to their city neighbours that they can repeat the trick.
Graham Potter's record at Chelsea:
◉ Matches played: 25
◉ Won: 9
◉ Drawn: 7
◉ Lost: 9
◉ Win rate: 36%
He's only managed one win in all competitions in 2023. 😣
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 18, 2023
Chelsea want to change previous regime’s hire and fire policy
There is no doubt that under previous owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea became one of the biggest clubs in England and Europe. The Russian oligarch poured billions of dollars into the club, making them a top force.
However, the businessman had a particular liking for short-term success over long-term success. As a result, in his 19-year tenure as owner, Abramovich appointed 18 coaches. While this brought 21 trophies to Stamford Bridge, including five Premier League titles, two Champions League and two Europa League titles, the notion of stability has been missing from the club.
Todd Boehly wants to change this notion as he wants the club to follow a sustainable model to sign young players and tie them down to long-term contracts. Todd Boehly’s unique transfer plan is a perfect example of that.
Thus, Graham Potter will be given time to turn around the club’s fortunes as Chelsea look to find a new way back to the summit of football.