Chelsea urged to stick by ‘fantastic coach’ Potter despite ‘ominous’ boos after Southampton loss

Graham Potter during a press conference Credit: Alamy
Graham Potter during a press conference Credit: Alamy

Gary Neville believes the “right thing” for the Chelsea hierarchy to do is to stick by head coach Graham Potter despite the Blues’ massive struggles this term.

Defeat at home to 20th-placed Southampton on Saturday resulted in a chorus of boos directed at the former Brighton boss.

Potter’s start to life at Stamford Bridge was pretty impressive, however, his side have now only won two of their last 14 in the Premier League.

That well and truly is relegation form and it is no surprise to see the 47-year-old become the odds-on favourite to be the next top-flight manager sacked.

Manchester United legend Neville does understand that Potter is “under massive pressure”, but thinks the club’s ownership must “hold their nerve” and keep the faith in their head coach.

Furthermore, Neville does not think it is fair the Blues boss has been given such a huge squad to deal with after extremely busy summer and winter transfer windows.

Speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast, he said: “Potter is under massive pressure. You can see it in his face. The chances they missed in the second half and the boos at the end of the game, felt a little ominous.

“I think they’ll want to do the right thing, the Chelsea owners. They’ve sacked a manager very early in the season in Thomas Tuchel, they’ve owned their new manager, they’ve brought recruitment assistants in alongside him, so they’ve invested heavily in Graham and his team… but they have to hold their nerve if they want to see it through.

“But I suspect that nerve is being tested, as any owner’s would be when you’ve spent that level of money and you’re losing games at home to the (side) bottom of the league.

“He’s a fantastic coach but you feel watching Potter he’s a measured man, he’s a good coach… you get the idea he’d like to build a pattern of play with a group of players on a consistent basis and he’s got 33 of them staring at him down the barrel saying ‘play me’.

“And these aren’t junior players, they’re senior internationals and I can’t imagine what it must be like to have 33 players. I was a manager for a very short period and we had a squad of 22, 23 at Valencia and you’re looking at 11, 12 players every week thinking ‘I’m not going to play you’.

“He’s got 22 players who are not going to play. If they’re all fit – how do you even get them all into a training session?

“A good training session you’d have 16-20 players. If you’ve got 22 players, five of them are training with the reserves or on their own. That isn’t right. They needed to unload players off Graham Potter to take the pressure of handling all those players that are expecting to play every single week.

“I’ve used the word chaotic and I think it has been chaotic in the first six months of the Boehly ownership. I won’t change my mind on that. They’ve invested heavily, they’re putting their money where their mouth is and are saying all the right things. But at this moment in time, it won’t be a successful project when you have 33 players all looking at the manager and a manager who wants to build a measured project.

“It feels a little bit conflicted with what Potter would ordinarily be really strong at and what the ownership seem to want in respect of filling a squad and accumulating players of that sort of volume.”

As their hopes of European qualification fade away, Chelsea will look to bounce back when they take on Tottenham away from home on Sunday.

READ MORE: If Chelsea sack Graham Potter for ‘tinkering’, would he see Leeds as big enough to bother with?

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