Potter not ‘saying that much to the players’ at Chelsea as he takes ‘personal abuse hard’

There is no feeling of “tension or nastiness” at Chelsea but Graham Potter has taken “some of the personal abuse hard” as he tries to turn around results.

The Blues hit a new low on Saturday when they lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to Southampton, who still remain bottom of the Premier League despite picking up three points.

Chelsea are now tenth in the Premier League table with only 15 matches of the season remaining after a run of just two wins in 14 matches in all competitions.

That has led to huge pressure on Graham Potter and the Chelsea board with the team and manager booed off the pitch after the Southampton match.

Potter took over from Thomas Tuchel in September and there is sympathy from some quarters at the huge amount of new players he’s had to gel into the squad.

Chelsea have spent around £600m on signings in the last two transfer windows with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s omission from the Champions League squad a good indicator of the issues Potter is facing.

On Potter’s approach to life at Chelsea, one club employee told The Athletic: “Potter is affable, approachable. Not like a bear with a sore head. There are no barriers. He is obviously taking some of the personal abuse hard but I like how objective he is. Potter doesn’t cause any problems like other managers have in the past — he’s very down-to-earth, humble, intelligent, courteous.

“I’ve not sensed any negativity among the players, or vitriol. It feels more like ‘things are going wrong, we need to fix it’. It doesn’t feel like hatred or disillusionment. Walking around the corridors at Cobham, you don’t feel any tension or nastiness. Everyone is just getting on with it.”

The Athletic insists ‘there have been no crisis meetings or ramping up of tension’ at Chelsea but ‘not everyone connected to the club has had a favourable impression of Potter’s debut season’.

Another source told the website: “From what I hear or gather, I don’t get the impression Potter is saying that much to the players. He doesn’t strike me as a personable character that says a lot.

“There are a lot of new faces, people speaking different languages, too. Potter hasn’t been there that long himself and so it’s going to be hard for him to implement his ideas. It can’t be easy.

“At Brighton, the expectation wasn’t there. The players there didn’t have any expectations either. But at Chelsea, you have all these big egos. People have to respect him as a man, as a coach and a lot of the players who have come in may not know that much about him, seen him or what he’s done. This is Chelsea, the dynamic is different.”

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