Graham Potter faced with expected problems as new Chelsea era starts in familiar fashion

·2-min read
Graham Potter faced with expected problems as new Chelsea era starts in familiar fashion

It’s early days but Graham Potter is facing the exact same frustrations that Thomas Tuchel had at Chelsea after watching his side squander a lead to draw 1-1 at home to RB Salzburg.

Raheem Sterling’s brilliant 48th minute strike gave Chelsea the lead but Noah Okafor levelled the scores in the 75th minute after hapless defending.

It was Mateo Kovacic, Sterling himself, Thiago Silva and ultimately Cesar Azpilicueta who were beaten in a series of duels which allowed the Swiss forward to equalise.

This is from a team that Tuchel had branded ‘soft’ in recent weeks and Potter is now faced with adding that needed toughness to get this team through Group E in increasingly difficult circumstances.

At the other end, the Blues wasted their chances beyond Sterling’s strike with Reece James, Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja all able to win it late on.

It came after Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were substituted without linking well enough, with the pair learning to find chemistry in attack having been thrown together late in the transfer window.

At both ends of the pitch, Potter will have frustrations but saw his team follow his game plan in a seemingly hybrid formation that switched between a back three and four.

There was energy, flair and creativity as the manager change seemed to breathe new life into Mason Mount operating in a deeper role.

On the whole, the defence didn’t give much away but at times the midfield was overrun by the younger Austrian champions.

The new Boehly-Clearlake ownership group have given their word that Potter is in for the long-term signing him onto a five-year deal.

He is going to need time to work with these players and possibly further significant spending to get this side to become the kind of team that can steamroll their Champions League opponents.

For now, it is Potter labouring over his coaching methods and his squad struggling through to try and prove their worth at this level.