HomeChampions LeagueDifferent challenge but approach the same says new Chelsea coach Potter

Different challenge but approach the same says new Chelsea coach Potter

Soccer Football – Champions League – Chelsea Press Conference – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – September 13, 2022 Chelsea manager Graham Potter during a press conference Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea’s new manager Graham Potter said he will approach a “very different challenge” in the same way as he has throughout a coaching career spent largely out of the spotlight.

The 47-year-old Englishman has taken on by far his biggest coaching job, having cut his teeth with Swedish club Ostersunds for seven years before a short spell at Swansea City and then a highly impressive one with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Potter’s methods at Brighton have enhanced his reputation but the expectation levels at Chelsea will be a new experience for a man tipped as a future England manager.

“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,” Potter, who will take charge for the first time as Chelsea host Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday, told reporters.

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

Asked whether working with a squad full of household names would alter his approach, Potter said he would rely on the communication skills for which he is widely praised.

“It sounds strange, but I approach it as I’ve approached every job and every football club with the greatest respect for every environment, every context,” Potter said.

“I know that this is a different environment, but we’re still working with people. Then it’s about understanding them, treating them with respect, getting to know them.

“There’s all sorts of narratives out there, that top players are this and top players are that, but in my experience people are quite complicated.

“People have egos people, have different things that challenge and that’s the fascinating thing about this job.”


Potter admitted it had been a whirlwind nine days since he oversaw Brighton’s 5-2 win over Leicester City that few could ever have imagined would be his last game with the club.

Two days after that Chelsea suffered a dire 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener and two days later he was named as Thomas Tuchel’s replacement.

“It feels like nine weeks or nine months but it’s been brilliant. It’s the beauty of football, the beauty of life. You never know what’s around the corner,” Potter said.

“Things happened incredibly quickly. I had some really intense conversations with the owners and quickly I realised that, firstly, they were good people, intelligent people, who have made a huge success of their life outside of football and wanting to achieve something really exciting here.”

Potter said he had moved out of his “comfort zone” but played down any suggestion it was a risk to join Chelsea.

“If you walk over the road it’s a risk,” Potter said. “I left England when I was 30 years old and I went to a club that sacked the manager every year for the last five years.”

After last weekend’s fixtures were postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth on the same day that Potter was appointed, he has had a little more time on the training ground with his squad than he might have imagined.

Now he is eager to get started against Salzburg — a fixture that Chelsea can ill afford to drop points in.

“This is an amazing evening for us, for all of us it’s very exciting,” he said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)