It is a month today since Graham Potter oversaw his first Chelsea game as our head coach, a 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg in the Champions League, and the anniversary has given him cause for reflection.
It was something of a stop-start beginning to life at Stamford Bridge for Potter, for various reasons, but he is clearly into his groove now if our results are anything to go by.
The Blues have won four on the spin in October, scoring 10 goals and conceding just once in the process. As he considered this run of form, Potter reserved extra praise for the manner in which his squad have handled the changeover in ideologies and bought in to the head coach’s philosophy.
‘It was a surreal start, in terms of the death of the Queen, games called off, international break, my first game in the Champions League,’ Potter explained.
‘There were lots of things to get my head around quickly, but as I’ve said before, I have got to be really thankful to the players. They have been really receptive and open and honest. We are starting to build a nice relationship.
‘We have quite a few games in a short space of time now, and we’ve had to use the group as wisely as possible, which we’ve done,’ added Potter.
‘I’ve been really impressed with the guys. Their attitude has been fantastic. There are a few lads who still haven’t had gametime, but that’s not necessarily because they’ve done anything wrong, you can only field 11. The focus is to go game to game and keep progressing. We’re not at the maximum in terms of where the team is at. There’s more to come.’
When Potter arrived in west London, much of the discussion centred on the fact he had never managed a so-called ‘big’ team before. Many pundits questioned whether he would be able to handle ‘the egos’ in the Chelsea dressing room, but Potter was quick to dismiss this notion at his press conference at Cobham this afternoon.
‘The players are open, they’re honest, they’re responsible. They’re ambitious, they’re determined, they want to do well. So far, so good from my perspective.
‘They are still human beings. There is a media perception players get to a certain level and they grow a second head or something, and they become not like the rest of us. It’s easy to put out there, but I have found that not to be the case in reality.
‘At Brighton there weren’t massive amounts of big players, but Adam Lallana has won the Champions League, played for Liverpool for seven years, Danny Welbeck’s done okay in his career. I managed to do alright with them, despite their second head because they have massive egos!
‘Premier League squads have 24 players who all want to play. They know the consequences if they do well. When you don’t pick them, they’re disappointed. Their egos are damaged, they’re hurt. People are complex in lots of walks of life. It’s not straightforward this job, whatever the level, and so far we’ve managed it okay.’
Potter, clearly not one to grab the limelight, did admit some aspects of his personal life had changed since he took the job.
‘I’ve probably realised I can’t go out as much. I’m a bit more high profile, but that’s fine, I’m busy anyway. I have no life; I just come to the training ground and try and prepare football matches!
‘My face unfortunately is too often on the television. I don’t like seeing myself on telly, I get sweaty palms. I would rather go to the dentist! It is what it is.’