Graham Potter reveals Chelsea players had their ‘worst pre-season ever’ under Thomas Tuchel
Graham Potter has spent the week analysing Chelsea’s dismal season which included one-to-one meetings with players who explained they had their ‘worst pre-season ever’.
Under the previous manager Thomas Tuchel, the Blues went from coast to coast in the United States on a pre-season tour arranged by the previous regime.
At the time Tuchel publicly complained about the intense heat at his side’s training camp in Orlando, Florida, and would go on to explain how he wished for an old-fashioned tour around central Europe instead.
Speaking after a week of analysis following a defeat to Southampton and ahead of a trip to Tottenham, he gave reasons for Chelsea’s struggles.
He said: “It’s really tough. My quote a few weeks ago was that this is probably the toughest job in football, and there are a lot of factors for that.
“There was a sub-optimal pre-season – and speaking to a few of the experienced guys, they thought it was the worst pre-season they’ve had for different reasons. That isn’t to blame anybody for the reasons. It’s just that it happened.”
The former Brighton manager also explained how expectations have been inflated by the club’s January business.
Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile were among the new signings in winter but they need time to fully adapt to the team.
The owners understand that despite spending over £500million, they might need to wait for the new players to positively impact Potter’s side.
The Chelsea boss added: “Old players left, new players came in [over the summer], there was a manager change, and I turn up in the middle of a Champions League Saturday-Tuesday schedule. We have the most unprecedented injury situation in that period in the Premier League.
“We played Newcastle before the break and we had no Kepa, no Reece James, no Ben Chilwell, no Marc Cucurella, no Wesley Fofana, no N’Golo Kante, no Raheem Sterling, no Ruben Loftus-Cheek after two minutes, and no Cesar Azpilicueta.
“We lost 1-0 and that is where we were at. We then had the World Cup, then the club invest a lot of money in the squad and the pressure, expectation, and noise goes up. But the players we got, they’re not 28-year-old, 400-game Premier League players.
“They are young players that take time to adapt and at the same time, we’ve got the injured players who have to get up to speed to play in the Premier League. That is the position we were in.
“We thought we were making progress but then we had the first half against Southampton – the third game in a week after a Champions League game –that was below par. Then the sky can fall in.
“That’s essentially how I can say that these are some of the inconvenient facts, if you say I’m not using [it as an excuse]. But that is the situation.”
Cesar Azpilicueta suffered a concussion during the 1-0 defeat to Southampton after Sekou Mara kicked accidentally kicked him in the head.
The Blues captain will now go through concussion protocols, joining N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Armando Broja and Edouard Mendy on the sidelines.
“He’s as ok as you can be when you’ve had that type of concussion,” he continued. “He’s around the place, around the boys, great to see him.
“Obviously, he won’t be available for the weekend and we have to go through the right protocols. The good news is that he’s doing well.”
“We’ve had a good week’s training, everyone is available pretty much apart from N’Golo [Kante] and Christian Pulsiic.
“They are making progress, joining the warm-ups, and they will be more integrated next week. So that is good.”