Graham Potter laments ‘perfect storm’ of Chelsea injuries and fixture pile-up as he contends with derby defeat

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Graham Potter says Chelsea need to use the World Cup break to regroup after being dominated by Arsenal in a 1-0 derby defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Ahead of the game, Ben Chilwell was the latest to join a growing injury list at Chelsea and Potter admitted that that there is currently no timeframe on his return beyond missing the upcoming matches with Manchester City and Newcastle - and the World Cup in Qatar.

“That will help us,” he told reporters of the upcoming break in club football.

“We will have two or three key players back and a couple of other ones closer to being back. That is just how it’s been.

“We’ve had a bit of a perfect storm in terms of lots of games and injuries along the way. We have to deal with that and focus on how we can improve the team. As you can see today, there is work to do.”

The 47-year-old saw his side well beaten on Sunday afternoon with Gabriel Maghalaes netting the only goal of the game midway through the second half.

Speaking with Chelsea now 13 points behind table-topping Arsenal, Potter admitted that his side were second best.

“We huffed and puffed I thought, but I think you could see the difference between the two teams in terms of confidence, in terms of points they’ve got, in terms of their structure and work together,” Potter said.

“We’re not in a fantastic moment as we speak and in the end, as much as it’s not nice to say, I think Arsenal deserved to win the game and were the better team overall. We have to take that and use it as motivation to improve.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

“We’re at the start of our process and have had a few problems with injuries to key players that they’ve managed to steer clear of. So lots of things, it’s not one simple solution unfortunately.”

Such was Arsenal’s dominance that the Blues only attempted five shots on goal, their lowest total this season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang touched the ball just eight times against his former club but Potter said focusing on individuals is unfair.

He added: “We need to do better in terms of how we create chances because otherwise you’re zooming in on individuals and it’s a team issue.

“If the opponent does things well, they pressed well. We had some opportunities in terms of three-vs-three and four-vs-fours in the final third but that lacked that last pass.

“If I am looking at how we build our attacks generally, we not as fluid and in as good a place as I would like us to be. There are lots of reasons for that but clearly that is where we have to improve as well.”