Potter admits new Chelsea stars ‘need time’ to ‘gel’ as they are ‘missing fluidity and confidence’

Lewis Oldham
Potter on CHelsea

Graham Potter admitted that Chelsea “need time” to “gel” after their frustrating goalless draw against Premier League rivals Fulham on Friday night.

Much of the talk ahead of Friday’s game at Stamford Bridge surrounded Chelsea’s spending in the transfer market over the past couple of months.

The club’s new owners have spent over £550m on new players since the end of last season. Two marquee additions last month were Enzo Fernandez and Mykhaylo Mudryk for a combined fee of around £165m.

Both players started against Fulham on Friday night. The Cottagers were well-drilled as they were able to frustrate their London rivals on the road.

Fulham beat Chelsea 2-1 when the sides met last month and Friday’s result means they have taken four points from Graham Potter’s team in the Premier League this season.

Chelsea have struggled going forward this season and they lacked an end product as they struggled to break down a resolute Fulham outfit.

Fernandez came close to scoring on his debut, while David Datro Fofana had a shot cleared off the line in the second half.

This was the closest Chelsea came to breaking the deadlock in the 0-0 draw and they are ninth in the Premier League heading into the rest of this weekend’s fixtures.

Potter stated after his side’s stalemate that Chelsea are at a “different stage” compared to Fulham.

“There was a lot of excitement and positivity from the start, a good atmosphere. The spirit of the players was really good. They worked hard for each other against an organised team,” Potter told BBC Sport.

“They’ve been together a while. We’re at a different stage of that – players coming back from injury and new players. We needed time to settle everything down. We were missing the connection, fluidity and confidence that comes from knowing each other.

“The decision we took in the window you can see the profile in terms of age. We feel we have a very strong group of players. We have to gel and become a really good team. That’s where the work is.

“It’s working together. When players have been injured they have not been on the training pitch. We have new players with us. It’s about getting ideas across and working with the group.

“Sometimes you have to look at the whole package. Young players, a nice mix of them both. For us, it’s about improving and new players are adapting to a new country and a new league. It’s not straightforward. When the price tag is what it is questions will be asked, it’s the nature of the business.”

Debutant Noni Madueke added: “We have a lot of new players. I’m sure in time we’ll know each other’s game more naturally.

“Two weeks training, getting to know the boys and the club. I’m glad I made my debut but upset we didn’t get the win.

“It’s a dream come true. Any young boy wants to play in the Premier League.”

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