Graham Potter explained why Joao Felix’s red card against Fulham is “doubly disappointing” after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Craven Cottage.
The Blues were afforded a boost leading into Thursday night’s London derby against Fulham as Felix completed his loan move from Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal and Man Utd were initially linked with Felix but Chelsea moved to recruit him amid their ongoing injury woes.
The Portugal international started against Fulham and he had some positive touches in the first half.
Fulham did go ahead before the break though as Willian’s deflected shot beat Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Blues recovered after the restart as Kalidou Koulibaly scored from close range to make it 1-1.
Chelsea looked like the likely winner at this stage but the game was turned on its head when Felix was sent off with around half an hour to go.
The attacker was shown a straight red card for a high-footed challenge on Kenny Tete.
This pushed Fulham on to win the game as ex-Tottenham striker Carlos Vinicius sealed the victory with a header from close range.
This result lifts the Cottagers up to sixth while Chelsea remain tenth. They have now won just one of their last nine games and they are ten points adrift of fourth-placed Man Utd.
Potter stated post-match that Felix was “really good” before he was sent off and he “understands” the referee’s decision.
“I think we controlled the game early won the ball back high created some opportunities maybe missed the last pass. We made a couple of mistakes for their goal,” Potter told BT Sport.
“Second-half I think we responded well and then the red card changes the game. Makes it a little more difficult for us, I thought the application when we went down to 10 was really good.
“Disappointed with the goal because I think we could do better and that is what cost us.
On Felix’s red card: “It was a forwards tackle, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red.
“It is another blow. The hits keep coming at the moment. He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us.”
He added: “We have got to keep working there are no other solutions, you have to keep working stay together and try to get the three points.”
Chelsea legend Joe Cole stated after the final whistle that Felix “was brilliant” before he was sent off.
“Graham Potter must be thinking when is his luck going to change. That moment [the red card] changed the game. Felix was brilliant – I saw enough in his 59 minutes to know he’s going to be a good signing for Chelsea,” Cole said.
“It is hard when you’re down to 10 in the Premier League because you’re getting overloaded in different areas of the pitch.
“Moments are going against Graham Potter and something has to change. They need a flukey win or goal to bring confidence back into the side.”
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