Graham Potter praises Kalidou Koulibaly leadership after Chelsea win over Leeds
Senegalese International Kalidou Koulibaly has received huge praises from his Chelsea boss Graham Potter after club’s 1-0 win over Leeds United on Saturday.
Koulibaly was named along Wesley Fofana and Benoit Badiashile in Chelsea’s 3 back system seeing the Blues win their first game in six.
Fofana rose above Leeds defense to head home Ben Chilwell’s cross in the second half as pressure eased on Potter. Chelsea played without their most experienced center-back Thiago Silva who has been rule out for six weeks after sustaining injury against Tottenham Hotspur.
In the absence of the Brazilian, Koulibaly took his position and played it well with Potter praising the former Napoli man.
‘Sometimes it’s not easy to land and hit the ground. We all want that to happen but it isn’t as straightforward as that,’ Potter told a post-match press conference.
‘There has been a lot of change and transition here but he is a great guy, wants the team to do well, cares a lot, and I thought he helped Wesley and Benoit [Badiashile]. He showed leadership and calmness which was really important for us. So I’m really happy for him.’
Fofana’s goal also ended a 396-minute goal drought and while Chelsea remain in 10th place, Potter believes the victory will serve as a huge lift.
‘We’re delighted with the win, that’s for sure. We’ve had a tough period so I’m delighted for the players and the supporters because they’ve had to suffer,’ he said.
‘It was pleasing to get the win. I thought we started the game well and created some opportunities. Playing against Leeds is always tough because they’re high-intensity.
‘When we got the goal, it was a pleasing moment for us all and in the second half, it was a little us having something to lose.
‘That is where you would expect us to be given the run we’ve had. So in the end, it’s really good for the players to keep a clean sheet, win the game, and to have that feeling. It’s nice.’
The Senegalese’s presence was evident on the pitch after blocking a couple of dangerous Leeds attack. This is the first time Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in four games. They welcome Borrusia Dortmund to Stamford Bridge for second leg of the Champions League round of 16.