Potter hopes ‘fantastic’ Felix can lift Chelsea after ‘challenging’ months
Graham Potter has admitted his Chelsea struggles after “five challenging months” but he still has hope that he and Joao Felix will help turn things around.
Speaking to BT Sport ahead of the visit to London rivals West Ham on Saturday, which kicks off at 12.30pm, Potter said it had been an eventful period already.
“It feels longer than that,” the former Brighton manager said. “Five very challenging months I would say. I’ve learnt a lot about the club, a lot about the people here, all the staff at Cobham.
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“It’s been a really fascinating period. You’ve also got the unique situation of the World Cup and the condensed fixtures and then how to deal with the injuries that we’ve had as well in the season, and also managing a club of Chelsea’s size and expectation, learning about the extra media scrutiny and all the noise that inevitably comes with a head coach role at a club like this.”
Chelsea have progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League, but under Potter they contrasted wins over Milan with poor results against Brighton, Arsenal, Newcastle and Manchester City, and disappointing draws with Brentford and Manchester United.
After the World Cup, Chelsea failed to win against Nottingham Forest, City again, Fulham and Liverpool, with rare successes against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
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The Fulham match was a double blow after the 23-year-old was sent off for a wild lunge on Kenny Tete, and the on-loan Atletico Madrid forward is now available for selection once more.
Potter is excited for his return, saying: “He had a really positive 60 minutes for us. Obviously the red card is a blow for us and a blow for him because he’s here to play and play far more often [than he was at Atletico Madrid] and then he gets a three-game ban.
“Sometimes you can get through those three games in a week, but it seems that this [ban] has dragged on quite long because of how the fixtures have gone.
“He was disappointed of course, but as the time’s got closer and closer, you can see that he’s more and more itching to play, more and more showing his qualities again. We’re really looking forward to seeing him on the pitch. We need to decide what role he plays, but he’s a fantastic player.
“Generally I think [playing him] centrally gives him the option to move both sides, which I think is favourable for him. He’s got the quality that can play central, left or right – it just depends on the rest of the team.
“[He’s] really good at finding space, whether that’s to feet or in behind [and] he can challenge the backline as well as he can receive in tight areas, so he’s got a unique set of skills. Our job now is to get him on the pitch to do a lot of the stuff that he does well and enjoy his football.”
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