Potter discusses ‘intense conversations’ with Boehly and co; ‘very excited’ for UCL debut

Date published: Tuesday 13th September 2022 3:55 - Jason Soutar

Graham Potter during a press conference

Graham Potter has taken his first press conference as Chelsea head coach ahead of his side’s Champions League match against Red Bull Salzburg.

The Blues host the Austrian champions on Wednesday evening as they look to bounce back from last week’s 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb.

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Potter will have to wait until October to take charge of his first Premier League match as Chelsea boss due to postponements following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The 47-year-old left Brighton to join Chelsea and has admitted it is a “completely different challenge” to any he has previously taken on in his career.

Before replacing Chris Hughton at the AMEX, Potter – who took four of his backroom staff with him to Stamford Bridge – managed Ostersunds in Sweden, taking over when they were in the fourth tier, and Swansea City.

“You have to look at the football club here, the tradition, the quality, to compete in the Premier League and Champions League, it’s a completely different challenge to the one I had,” the Blues head coach said.

“I am very, very excited as you can imagine and looking forward to getting going.

“The beauty of life is things can happen very quickly.

“We had some intense conversations with the new owners and it was clear that they had really exciting ideas about the project and how to take the club forward.

“Life is about going outside your comfort zone, taking responsibility, believing there is more to us that sits here now.

“I don’t see it as a risk in a negative way, but everything is a bit of an unknown.

“I’ll promise I’ll do my very best every single day. The team I’d like to see is balanced between attack and defence. We want a humble team that fights.

“We want our own identity and that supporters can see what we’re going to do.

“It’s about connecting with supporters, them recognising the team, working at Cobham. Success is to see improvement and be competing to win.”

On his debut in the Champions League, Potter said: “This is an amazing evening for us, for all of us it’s very exciting.

“At the same time, you can imagine we’ve been preparing a team, preparing for a game, getting to know the players and people at the training ground.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

The English boss confirmed that midfielder N’Golo Kante and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will both miss the game against Salzburg.

Potter says the response from the squad has been “really positive”, but is not overwhelmed by working with a lot of high-profile players.

“The response has been really positive,” he said. “A really honest group, a really responsible group.

“They’ve been positive around the training ground. They want to achieve and do well. I am happy with the team and the squad.

“I approach it as I approach every job: we’re still working with people and it’s about understanding them, treating them with respect, communicating as clearly as possible, and building relationships.”

On how involved he will be in the club, Potter said:

“I am a head coach and my job is to help the football club. I’ve always taken that approach.

“In Sweden, I had the chance to build a football club and that became clear that the club was the most important thing.

“My main job is to help the guys here, help the players that are here, and put out a team on the pitch that the supporters are proud of.”

Potter insists it is not a big chance for him as an English coach, but as a coach in general.

He said: “I see myself as a coach, not an English coach.

“I left here when I was 30, now I’m 47. In those 17 years, I’ve educated myself, taken on different levels, steps to go forwards.

“You always need to believe you can be more than you are now.”

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