Why Chelsea are backing Graham Potter despite poor results and unrest amongst fans

Why Chelsea are backing Graham Potter despite poor results and unrest amongst fans

Unrest is growing among Chelsea fans going into the World Cup break.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle leaves the Blues eight points outside the top four and eighth in the Premier League.

For Chelsea, three Premier League defeats for the first time since 2015 is clearly not good enough.

The last time that happened, Jose Mourinho was soon sacked by Roman Abramovich.

Graham Potter, though, is not under that same pressure.

The Todd Boehly-Clearlake ownership group gave him a five-year contract when he was appointed in September and committed to a long-term project to build around him.

Potter has had his say on the recruitment structure at the club, for example, with several new hires from his former club Brighton coming in to work on transfers.

Co-owner Boehly spent great care in picking Potter, who he believes is stable and good enough to bring Chelsea success over the longer term.

The American ruthlessly sacked Thomas Tuchel, but he likes to give people time and has a history of doing that with his baseball team, Los Angeles Dodgers, whose coach Dave Roberts has been leading the team for almost 10 years.

Chelsea’s new owners face a test of nerve, however, with an increasing number of supporters on social media calling for Potter to go.

Among the match-going fans, the reaction is more measured but it is still not positive.

The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge has been tepid, and declining, in the early days under Potter, as supporters struggle to get behind a less charismatic coach.

That negativity is feeding into the team, and Potter faces a challenge to turn things around when Chelsea return to Premier League action after the World Cup, against Bournemouth on December 27.

The Blues also had nine players missing due to illness or injury at Newcastle. Arguably, no club needs the mid-season break more than Chelsea.

Patience: Todd Boehly is prepared to back Graham Potter in January (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Patience: Todd Boehly is prepared to back Graham Potter in January (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

They will try to get injured players back fit and they expect to be boosted by the return of Reece James, Wesley Fofana and Ben Chilwell in December.

There will also be meetings within the club to assess what has and has not worked well in what has been a transition period for both the owners and for Potter.

The manager will assess January transfer plans with co-owners Boehly and Behdad Eghbali.

This is the collaborative approach that the owners want, as they work across all areas of the club and away from the scrutiny and noise that comes with owning a top-level sports team.

In Chelsea’s case, those emotions are heightened because the club has become conditioned to a boom-and-bust cycle in the Abramovich years.

Tuchel’s Champions League success in 2021 papered over cracks that have been plain to see through the club’s League finishes.

Chelsea have not come close to winning the title since Antonio Conte managed it in 2017 and have been in a fight to make the top four in each of those seasons, even dropping into the Europa League on one occasion.

Right now, results are not good enough and there are serious problems to resolve.

Potter, though, has the backing of the club for now and will be part of addressing those issues.