BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) – Chelsea’s willingness to do the “ugly stuff” is the basis of their unbeaten run under Graham Potter, the manager said on Sunday after a 2-0 victory at Aston Villa.
Mason Mount’s double earned Chelsea a fifth successive win in all competitions and they have now kept four clean sheets in a row, although they were not at their best at Villa.
“I think it’s a collective desire to do the ugly stuff in the game. A collective idea to help each other and to be together,” Potter, whose side are fourth in the Premier League, told reporters. “If we have to suffer, we will suffer.
“We have humility and we know sometimes the opponent can get the better of us, that is normal in football. But you can see the players running and can see players getting bodies in the way to block shots.”
Mount’s early goal, courtesy of a mistake by Villa defender Tyrone Mings, provoked an impressive response by the hosts and Chelsea were indebted to their Spanish keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
He made a series of superb saves, one in particular from Danny Ings in the world class category.
“He is contributing to us with clean sheets and how we’re trying to play and the environment around the place,” Potter said of the keeper, who is back in favour after a difficult couple of seasons at Stamford Bridge.
“Kepa has found a fantastic level today. Made some brilliant saves that have kept us in the game … so really pleased for him.”
With England manager Gareth Southgate in the stands at Villa Park, Mount did his World Cup prospects no harm with his first Premier League goals of the season.
“He’s got the quality, got the ability to score and assist. Sometimes players go through little dips if the team isn’t functioning that well,” Potter said.
“But the effort has always been there from my perspective and once he can get in the spaces we want to get into he has got the quality to execute and you saw that today.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by John Stonestreet)