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‘Sub-optimal’ Chelsea start expensive road to regeneration

Graham Potter shrugs off pressure as Blues look for payout from winter buys


Thumbs-up: Graham Potter is welcoming the challenge of bringing a 'sub-optimal' Chelsea back to greater success. Photo: Getty

Thumbs-up: Graham Potter is welcoming the challenge of bringing a 'sub-optimal' Chelsea back to greater success. Photo: Getty

Chelsea unveil new signing Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea unveil new signing Enzo Fernandez


Thumbs-up: Graham Potter is welcoming the challenge of bringing a 'sub-optimal' Chelsea back to greater success. Photo: Getty

Graham Potter has described circumstances at Chelsea so far this season as “sub-optimal” but that it is now “exciting” for the club after expenditure of over €320m this window.

The Stamford Bridge boss said he “didn’t think the spending will continue as it has” – but the caveat to that is he felt similar before the British record signing of Enzo Fernandez from Benfica. Potter did admit that he has been faced with “tough decisions” in selecting the 25-man squad for the Champions League, but described the club’s general policy as a “regeneration” that is also for results now.

It does increase the pressure on a group that finds itself 10th in the table despite the expenditure, amid a series of injuries and changes as Potter himself has adjusted to a new club.

“Loads of things have happened that make it sub-optimal, let’s say that,” Potter began. “But if I wanted a nice, easy life then I would have stayed at previous employments.

“When you go through a period of transition and the steps we’ve gone through then there are going to be periods when it is going to be tougher than you ideally want – it’s not optimal.

“I am not complaining about it, it is what it is, and I have to do my best to help support and manage the club. Step-by-step I want to support the club, manage the club, and put the team in a better place than when I arrived.

“There was a regeneration and I think we have to say the next window and the window after will be different that’s for sure.

“I’m certainly not complaining about my position here and I think you’ll find with football managers they can complain about pretty much anything at any point. We’ve all got our strengths and our weaknesses and things working for us and against us.

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​“The point of this opportunity was the challenge of trying to shape and help and support a football club in quite significant transition. That’s what it is.

“What we’ve done in this window is exciting, the players that we’ve got are exciting, you can see the direction we’re trying to go in which is building for the future but at the same time quality that can compete now.

“I think what we have tried to do is be creative. We have tried to invest in the now and the future. We are in a position where we want to keep improving. That is the ambition of the club.”

Potter did add: “I don’t think the spending will continue as it has.”

The Chelsea manager did meanwhile offer effusive praise for Fernandez, as it was put to him how many in the game are describing his signing at that price as a “gamble”. The 21-year-old midfielder was named best young player at the World Cup he won with Argentina, although that after just a few months at Benfica following a summer move from River Plate.

“Every transfer is a gamble. If you look at the market for midfield players – certainly midfield players that haven’t won the World Cup – you’ll be quoted a lot of money. We’ve got a player with a huge personality. He played in the midfield for Argentina that won the World Cup.

“He has attributes that can help him play in any league in the world. He has already played well in the Champions League. We followed him before the World Cup, we knew about him anyway. We’re confident on the personality. It’s like anything: he’s still a young person, he’s still a young man coming to this country.

“You’ve got to adapt to the club. But we’ll help him with that and his personality is one where you think, ‘Oh, I’ve got no worries about him’.

“He’s a fighter. I think he understands how fortunate he is. He fights for the team. He’s got courage, he’s not afraid, he’s open-minded.

“He wants to play football, he wants to improve. With the quality he’s shown, it’s not straightforward to have those attributes.” 

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