‘Team of individuals’ – Pundit slams Chelsea recruitment strategy as pressure mounts on Potter

Ben Stewart
Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Chelsea Manager Graham Potter during the Premier League match against Southampton.

Paul Merson didn’t hold back in his assessment of Chelsea after they fell to another disappointing defeat to Southampton at the weekend.

The result for Graham Potter’s side leaves them 10th in the Premier League table with a mere 31 points to their name.

Chelsea have now only won one of their last eight league matches as the pressure is now reaching boiling point for Potter.

Merson has pointed the finger at their recruitment strategy as he labelled the Chelsea squad as a “team of individuals”.

“One is a team. The other is an absolute team of individuals. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Merson explained on Sky Sports.

“The players they’ve brought in – take away (Enzo) Fernandez because he’s a top holding midfield player – are all individual footballers.

“They all get on the ball and want to beat five or six players and there’s no passage of play. It was only when Havertz and Sterling came on that there was a little bit of movement.

“(Mason) Mount gets eaten up because he passes the ball and the others are all dribbling it, so there’s no phases in the game. I was very disappointed. It was poor.

“I don’t see this stopping. They’ve bought a lorry load of individuals I’m afraid. It’s all dribblers.”

Chelsea have averaged just 1.35 points per game this season and are currently projected to finish the season with just 51 points.

For context, that would be 23 points less than they managed to pick up last season under Thomas Tuchel as the ultimately finished in third.

“Chelsea fans will be absolutely fuming,” Merson added. “They won’t stand for this, oh Southampton have got a new manager so that helped them, they’re not worried about that.

“If you don’t beat Southampton at home, their goalkeeper has to be the best player on the pitch. He wasn’t.”

Potter’s side have failed to hit the back of the net in four of their last five matches across all competitions.

In the league this season they have only scored 23 goals, which is the fewest of any side currently in the top half by quite some margin.

Boos rang around Stamford Bridge after their latest defeat and Potter admitted that he understands the fans frustration.

“The results aren’t what we want,” he said. “You can completely understand the supporters’ frustration.

“Our job is to keep working and keep trying to improve the team in what is a difficult period for us all.”

Potter also told Sky Sports: “I thought first half we were below par. We got punished at the end by James Ward-Prowse, he is elite at that. Our level of performance in the first half was not great. Credit to Southampton they mixed their game up well.

“Second half we pushed and pushed but we had goalscoring opportunities that we need to score. It is the story of where we are at at the moment.”

READ MORE: The FA desperately need to protect Saka – he is one tackle away from being the next Eduardo