HomeFootball NewsGraham Potter’s difficult time at Chelsea and what’s next for him?

Graham Potter’s difficult time at Chelsea and what’s next for him?

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Graham Potter’s time at Chelsea last season was a tough period for the English manager. Potter was the manager of the Blues for less than seven months, managing 31 games, of which his side won just 12. Why did Potter ‘fail’ at Chelsea, considering the progress he made during his time at Brighton?

When Thomas Tuchel was sacked by new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly in September 2022 the club were sixth in the Premier League, with 10 points out of a possible 18.

Chelsea paid then Brighton manager Potter’s £15m release-clause, which made him the most expensive manager ever. Overall, Chelsea paid Brighton a total of £21.5m for Potter and for his staff. After giving Potter a five-year contract, at £12m-a-year, his package was worth £60m in total.

The new Blues manager began his career at Chelsea with a nine-game unbeaten run. Potter’s first game in charge came in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge against RB Salzburg. Raheem Sterling’s goal in the 48th minute was cancelled out by Noah Okafor, who found the Chelsea net in the 75th minute.

During this initial unbeaten run, Potter managed two wins against AC Milan. He secured knockout football for Chelsea in the Champions League, when they beat RB Salzburg 2-1 away from home.

However, his first loss was a heavy 4-1 defeat against his former club Brighton. Roberto De Zerbi’s side outshone Potter’s and on his return to the south coast, his Chelsea team suffered a humiliating defeat. This was the start of a difficult period, in which Chelsea lost seven out of their next 10 matches.

In Europe things were more positive for Potter, after he managed to win in the first knockout round of the Champions League, as Chelsea beat Borussia Dortmund to advance in the competition.

However, it was Potter’s last success during his spell at the Blues. The final nail in the coffin came at Stamford Bridge, where Aston Villa won 2-0 against Chelsea, resulting in Potter’s sacking, in early April 2023.

Chelsea overall had a troubled 2022-23 season, with their new owner coming in, three managerial changes and a high number of transfers. With the rapid and seemingly haphazard recruitment of so many players under Boehly, Potter struggled to find a reliable, settled side, and to get the best out of a talented, but ever-increasing first team squad.

Chelsea struggled to find form and the pressure mounted on them, with Potter ultimately paying the price. However, the struggles of Frank Lampard, who replaced Potter, perhaps highlight that it was not down to just one man as to why the team were not hitting expectations.

The big question now is what happens next for the former Chelsea boss? Could we see him return to the Premier League or will he manage abroad? Potter has experience managing in Europe before, where he was the boss of Swedish side Östersunds for seven years.

During his tenure at the Swedish outfit, he managed to take them into the Europa League and even managed a 2-1 win against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

There were reports that Potter could return to management with Leicester City or Tottenham Hotspur this summer, however neither of these moves materialised. It is believed that Potter still wants to spend more time away from football.

Given the financial details of his short relationship with Chelsea he is unlikely to be short of cash. Meanwhile, given his excellent progress over many years with Östersund and Brighton – which sandwiched a short spell at Swansea City – Potter’s reputation in football is still positive, especially with the whirlwind nature of Chelsea’s ownership and management being widely acknowledged.

As and when Potter does return to football management, it will be on his terms and most likely with a steadily run club that suits his temperament and outlook.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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