Graham Potter’s biggest test at Chelsea won’t be on the pitch but the egos of his star-studded team


DANNY MURPHY: Graham Potter’s biggest tests as Chelsea boss won’t come on the pitch… It will be handling the egos of his star-studded team inside the dressing room

  • Sacking Champions League-winning Thomas Tuchel was hasty from Chelsea
  • But Graham Potter’s appointment is proof of a change of mentality at the club
  • Potter’s biggest challenge will be contending with the egos of his dressing room

My first reaction to Thomas Tuchel’s sacking at Chelsea was that it was too hasty — he’s an intelligent football manager who conducted himself well, and won the Champions League.

But on reflection, if new owner Todd Boehly has a different vision on how he wants the club to be run, best get the change done quickly.

Based on Boehly’s time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, stability will be important to him. He’s had the same manager in America for seven years and long-term contracts already given to the likes of Reece James indicates a long-term plan.

Thomas Tuchel’s sacking at Chelsea was hasty, especially given his success at the club

So Graham Potter knows he has a proper chance and I’m delighted the job has gone to an English manager — one with broad horizons having also worked abroad.

No English manager has won a major trophy since Harry Redknapp with Portsmouth in 2008, far too long, but Potter has the coaching ability and squad of players to end that run and bring silverware to Stamford Bridge.

Funnily enough, I think transferring the tactical knowledge he showed us at Brighton will be relatively easy, and he has the humility and calmness that will bring some stability to Chelsea.

But Graham Potter is the right man to bring stability to the Stamford Bridge side

But Graham Potter is the right man to bring stability to the Stamford Bridge side

The difficult part will be dealing with the egos of those star players who knock on his door and demand why they’re not in the team.

It’ll be his biggest challenge and something he will have to learn quickly. I know from playing at Liverpool compared to clubs like Charlton and Fulham, the status of the players can be so different. The manager needs to communicate and have those strong conversations.

Most of the Chelsea lads are internationals with plenty of trophies on their CVs. It’ll be more demanding explaining the situation to them than it would have been with an unhappy player at Ostersunds, Swansea or Brighton.

Despite his relationship with Tuchel, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can serve as the focal point of Potter's Chelsea

Despite his relationship with Tuchel, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can serve as the focal point of Potter’s Chelsea

On the training pitch, Potter will be fine — his Brighton team played good football but his teams also showed a variety in their play dependent on the opposition. It’ll be interesting to see how Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacts to a change in manager having just signed for Tuchel, who he worked with well at Borussia Dortmund.

Potter’s Brighton generally played with a recognised centre-forward which means Aubameyang and Armando Broja have a good chance of spearheading the attack, even though Tuchel started the season without a focal point at No 9.

On debut against Dinamo Zagreb, I thought Aubameyang looked sharp and hungry, despite Chelsea’s defeat. I think Potter will try to use his attributes.

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