Graham Potter says he has got a sense of real ambition from the new Chelsea owners, while also revealing his “starting point” for his era in charge.
The Blues announced the arrival of the former Brighton man on a five-year contract last week. Potter has replaced Thomas Tuchel, who – despite three wins in seven games this term – lost his job.
But, Potter has had to wait for his Chelsea tenure to properly start. The passing of the Queen last week meant a postponement to his first game in charge.
Wednesday’s Champions League clash against RB Salzburg will now mark the start of a new era at Stamford Bridge.
The wait has allowed Potter to settle in at Chelsea and in his first extended interview as manager, he revealed he has already got a real sense of where Todd Boehly and his consortium want to take the club.
“It’s the start of a really exiting period,” the coach said. “New ownership, who I was really excited with an impressed by, firstly as people and then their vision for the club and what they wanted to do.
“The history of the clubs speaks for itself but it is about trying to create that again in our own way.”
Potter said it is “exciting” to see that his career has “gone forward” to this “fantastic opportunity” after time in Sweden with Ostersunds and spells with Swansea and Brighton.
He added that Chelsea’s “amazing history” is “incredible” and immediately evident when walking round Stamford Bridge.
As for how Potter plans to get the Blues winning trophies, he insisted that getting to know his players is a crucial place to start.
Graham Potter explains Chelsea plans
“It is about creating a team that competes, that has respect for each other, that is honest, that works together,” he said.
“So it is an combination of football and human values that we try to work with. I think you have to understand that they are human beings first.
“The key thing is to try and understand them, what motivates them and what they are like as people.
“From that, try to come to some common ground, build relationships, communicate effectively on a daily basis. And to build respect, build trust, build honesty, so my starting point would always be the person first.”
As for his emotions in the past week, Potter said: “Surreal, hectic, a whirlwind, exciting, amazing… a little bit of sadness of course because you are leaving some good people but very happy and excited to meet new people. So a whole range of emotions but overall I’m really happy and very proud.”
Blues boss deserves big chance
Potter knows of the expectations on his shoulders as he looks to take Chelsea into a new era.
Stepping up from Swansea to Brighton, then Brighton to Chelsea is clearly a big move. Potter left the Seagulls in fourth in the Premier League, their highest-ever ranking in the football pyramid.
But for Chelsea, a top-four finish is the minimum requirement. Although, winning the Premier League title is the ultimate aim – and there is extra pressure after five years without clinching top spot.
But, if there is anyone right now who deserves such a step up, it is Potter.
He worked wonders with Brighton, who would surely have advanced their journey under his stewardship.
It is a shame for the Seagulls that their progress may now be shunted, but Potter deserves the chance to prove his rising stock.
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