Graham Potter accepts making an ‘idiot’ of himself in Chelsea rebuild missteps: ‘You have to have courage’

Graham Potter accepts making an ‘idiot’ of himself in Chelsea rebuild missteps: ‘You have to have courage’

Chelsea manager Graham Potter says there is no shame in looking like an ”idiot” at times during Chelsea’s rebuild as he called on the club to show stability to help him guide it back to the top of English football.

The 47-year-old is nearly two months into his new job at Stamford Bridge after being appointed by the club’s new Boehly-Clearlake owners in early September.

However, pundit Ian Wright was just one dissenting voices after watching Brighton smash Potter’s side 4-1 last weekend, branding his tactics “very confusing”.

The Chelsea boss has asked for a stable approach and time to get the west Londoners back to competing at the top of the Premier League table.

“I wouldn’t say I am experimenting,” Potter told reporters at Cobham on Friday. “I do have an idea of how I want us to play football.

“I think you have to remember, when you are trying to do something new, there will be a chance it goes wrong. You always have to be prepared for that.

“That sounds a bit strange because you should come across as this all-knowing person with all the answers, but the reality of making progress and the reality of doing something different and new is... you have to be prepared to be an idiot.

“If it goes wrong or it fails, you are open to criticism. The flip side of that is that if you don’t do anything and you just do the same stuff then nothing changes.

“And it is that balance. You have to have the courage to do that and accept the consequences when it doesn’t go your way.”

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Potter spoke as he prepared his side to face Arsenal, who are top of the table and two points clear of Manchester City and with a 10-point gap over Chelsea.

Despite their London rival status, Potter admires how the Gunners have backed manager Mikel Arteta and been rewarded for it.

“What I like is that they identified Mikel and supported him through difficult times,” he added.

“There have been times when he has been under pressure, certainly from the outside. Take the rivalry between Arsenal and Chelsea away and that is quite a good thing from a coach’s perspective to see a club support and back him and come through and they are getting the rewards now.

“It’s a combination of good work from him, from the staff and recruitment and support. It sounds straightforward but it isn’t.

“They are there on merit. They have had three years of working with Mikel and building and building.

Just because you drive a fast car doesn’t necessarily tell you too much about your personality.

“We are at the start of quite an exciting project with lots of things that have happened behind the scenes, lots of change and lots of instability. So different phases but we have to focus on the game and try to build.”

The sub-text to the match is the uncomfortable reunion between Arteta and the Blues’ ex-Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The 33-year-old left Arsenal in February this year after being criticised for a series of misdemeanors.

Such issues are not something Potter has seen in his striker, and he said: “Just because you drive a fast car doesn’t necessarily tell you too much about your personality or character. You might just like cars.

“His taste in cars is a bit different to mine and his taste in clothing is a little different to mine, but I’d like to think we’ve got some similarities as well. He’s got kids, he’s a family man.

“He wants to enjoy his football, he wants to be happy, he wants to be supported and he wants to be part of the team. I found him really nice to work with.”