Graham Potter outlines non-negotiables for his ‘humble’ Chelsea side in message to fans

·4-min read
Graham Potter outlines non-negotiables for his ‘humble’ Chelsea side in message to fans

Chelsea’s new manager Graham Potter has identified his two non-negotiables as he embarks upon his first match against RB Salzburg in the Champions League.

The 47-year-old joined the club on Thursday last week and has had time to prepare his players after seeing the weekend’s Premier League matches postponed following events surrounding the Queen’s passing.

Ahead of his first game in charge, he detailed what he wants from his team and what they can expect from him.

“In terms of what I can promise, we’re playing a game which is uncontrollable and so I promise I’ll do my best every single day,” Potter said at Stamford Bridge. “It’s a big responsibility. The team I want to see is one that’s balanced in terms of attack and defence.

“Humble team, a respectful team that when it doesn’t have the ball, it runs hard and fights because I think that’s important also.

“We want to entertain also but I’m respectful of the Premier League, respectful of my opponents and there’s a lot of teams that want to do the same and we want to create our own team, our own identity so supporters recognise what we want to do, can see what we want to do and we’ll fight every day for it.

“I’ve always said the connection between the supporters and the team is the most important thing. I’m the head coach and a member of the team and an important member of the team but no more important than anyone else.

“I’d love their [the fans] support and everything I’ve heard so far makes me believe I have that and I’m very, very thankful for it.”

There has been a lot of talk about who will be the winners and losers in the squad following Potter’s appointment in west London.

He has typically favoured a possession-based approach with tactical flexibility and intense pressing which is somewhat similar to that of the former coach Thomas Tuchel.

However, he has never managed players of this calibre having been tasked with fighting against relegation at Brighton. The lofty ambitions of Chelsea won’t change Potter’s approach.

“It sounds strange but I approach it as I’ve approached every job at every football club with the greatest respect for every job and every context,” he added.

“I know this is a different environment and a different context but we’re still working with people as far as I know and then it’s about understanding them, treating them with respect, getting to know them, trying to communicate as clearly as possible and build relationships. That’s how it is.

“There are all sorts of narratives out there that top players are this, top players are that believe you me in my experience people are quite complicated. People have egos, people have different things and that’s the fascinating thing about this job I think, something I really enjoy.

Graham Potter is confident he will have no problems working with the Chelsea squad. (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Graham Potter is confident he will have no problems working with the Chelsea squad. (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“It’s a really honest group, a really responsible group. They have been positive around the training ground. They want to achieve, they want to do well. And I’m absolutely happy with the team, happy with the squad.

“The group has a lot of quality. And I’m looking forward over the next days and weeks getting to know them better and better.”

Potter takes over a team that just spent over £250million in the transfer window with an all-star squad. Eventually, he will also get to add players to the team that’s been expensively assembled by the new Boehly-Clearlake owners.

With a recruitment analyst hired to help Potter in Kyle McCauley, Potter detailed his approach to transfers.

“Predominantly I’ve always thought that I’m a head coach,” he further explained.

“My job is to help the football club and I’ve always taken that approach. I was lucky that I had an opportunity in Sweden to build a football club. What I got from that is that the club is always the most important thing.

“We are just here to serve the club and do our best and they take the directive and we try to help as best as we can. Kyle is one of my members of staff, he’s been with me for 10 years.

“He is really important in terms of recruitment so a lot of the conversations that I think you need in terms of between ownership and the board can be had via him because he knows me well and he knows how we want to play, he knows the culture, he knows the environment and as you’d imagine those conversations often are time-consuming so he’s really really important for me.

“That’s not to say that I don’t try to help the club in terms of making decisions around transfers but my main job is to help the players that are here and help them improve and put a team on the pitch that our supporters are proud of.”