Graham Potter is not hiding from the fact that some of what he has had to deal with recently is tough to take, but while putting it into context, he has also spoken about his approach to criticism.
Our head coach has revealed that as well as the general media pressure and fan discontentment he expects to accompany a run of below-par results at a club like Chelsea, there have now been instances of criticism that have tipped over into unacceptable abuse.
However widely speaking, he remains grateful to have his role and fully intends to stay true to his real self as he goes about doing his best for the club, highlighting that he is not the only one with cause for concern.
‘The world is tough for everybody,’ Potter points out. ‘We’re going through an energy crisis, a cost of living crisis, people are striking every other week, so things are difficult. No one wants to hear about the poor old Premier League manager.
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‘Nevertheless if I am asked is it hard, is it tough, is it not nice to hear, as much as I’ve had support I’ve also had some not particularly nice emails come through that want me to die and want my kids to die, that type of stuff. That’s obviously not pleasant to receive.
‘For four months I’m under pressure and that’s what happens, that’s football, that’s how it is. And then the challenge for me is okay, how do I conduct myself?
‘I think the higher you go, the more focus you have to have on how you are as a person.’
Potter especially counters anyone saying to him that he does not care enough about how Chelsea are performing under his coaching.
‘It’s a challenge and if you go to work and somebody is swearing abuse at you, it is not very pleasant,’ he says.
‘Everyone does care what people think because we’re hardwired to be socially connected. I want to succeed here. It is nonsense that I don’t care. If people have a perception that I don’t care, my response is what is that based on, how do you know? Ask my family how life has been for me and for them. It’s been not pleasant at all.
‘I understand supporters go home and they’re really annoyed because the team aren’t winning, but I assure you my life the last three or four months has been fairly average, apart from the fact that I’m really grateful for this experience and I can see what a great challenge this is.’
Potter agrees people may think that someone in his position, with the status of the manager at a big football club, should be able to shrug off scrutiny and criticism and not carry it with them, adding:
‘I think that is fair because life is tough for lots of people and no one really wants to care about Premier League football managers or Premier League players. Sometimes life isn’t fair and I understand the position. It’s not that I complain about it.
‘I’m asked is it hard and I’m saying yeah, this is when it’s hard. You suffer, you get upset, when you’re in private you show real emotion with your family.
‘My job is to try to act how I think I should act, for the best way for the team and for Chelsea Football Club. Act with Integrity that is right for me. I don’t want to be anybody else. I don’t want to be fake. I’ll be me, do my best, and if my best isn’t good enough, okay, I accept that.’