Potter reflects on another ‘painful’ defeat as ‘second best’ Chelsea continue to ‘suffer’
When play was stopped for VAR to review Kai Havertz’s alleged handball in the penalty area, cameras panned to Graham Potter on the bench, and a replay of the incident was also shown. When he realized it was a Stonewall penalty, his emotional chip quickened with a resigned expression. “fuck me” said the Chelsea managerAnd not in a good way.
And indeed, we were screwed.
Havertz’s silly handball reminded me of a similar Salomon Kalou handball at the end of a 1-1 draw against Valencia in early 2011-12. Many have compared Potter to Chelsea’s equally shaky head coach at the time, André Villas-Boas. AVB’s worst run of results would be 2 wins out of 9 in all competitions (with 5 draws and 2 losses) just before his dismissal. Potter now also has 2 wins in 9 in all competitions, albeit with 6 losses.
A Chelsea lineup with Mount, Havertz, Ziyech, Jorginho, Kovacic, Koulibaly, Gallagher, Chalobah and Kepa should at least play motivated, competitive and tactically organized football. And that’s a low bar to clear, it’s not happening. I don’t want to hear about injuries.
—Paul Wentworth (@paultwentworth) January 8, 2023
Things are “different” now obviously, as Potter reminded us this weekend, which makes comparisons difficult. Of course, Potter’s own comparisons in mentioning the cliché of time and patience afforded Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp in their early seasons are equally inapplicable. Different teams, different situations, different coaches, different resumes, different expectations.
More importantly, its success doesn’t guarantee our success either, sadly, it just provides a best-in-class result that we can, perhaps foolishly, strive for. Premier League football is littered with examples of that nonsense.
“We were the second best of a very good team. Obviously, we ourselves are not in a great moment. [but] The first half was painful and hard for everyone. The second half we had to respond and I think there were some positives in terms of young players. [who] They gave their all and demonstrated their quality. But in the end we are disappointed because we have been left out of competition.
“[You] You can make excuses and look for reasons or you can say that you are not good enough. Both answers are correct, so we have to keep improving and stick together because clearly we are suffering as a football club and it is not pleasant at all. That is where we are at the moment. [We] we can’t do anything other than do our job better and work harder.
“We understand the frustration of the fans, that is understandable and we will respect it. Our job is to do our job, keep working, see the situation as it is and of course there are always other opinions, negativity and criticism because the results have not been positive. That is part of the work and the challenge.
“[…] Everyone wants to try to do better. I think there’s support in the dressing room, it’s just that we’re going through a bad time and sometimes when you have these moments you need someone to blame, something to blame, and I understand where that question comes from. But at the same time, we have to stick together and keep working.”
-Graham Potter; font: Soccer.London
It’s a complex situation, to be sure, and context matters. But the responsibility has to stop somewhere, and right now, no one is taking responsibility, certainly not those whom you expect to take responsibility as part of their job definition. Our results have not been very good, but our football has been even worse! We have accepted that this is our destiny in life. After all, we are second best, and we must suffer, and what could we do to get out of it?
(And I don’t mean blindly expecting Potter to be the next arrival of the as-yet-untested Mikel Arteta, let alone the outliers of Guardiola and Klopp, who have just replaced Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger as management’s black swans. of Premier League football.)
How long can you trust the process if the process does not prove to be trustworthy?