Potter accepts results left his job in peril, Chelsea board SPLIT over future

Chelsea are divided on the future of manager Graham Potter as the under pressure coach enters a pivotal period that could define his future at the club and accepts that results have left his job ‘in peril.’

Sportsmail understands Potter is facing a fight to convince certain figures at the club that he has the authority to turn round what has been a disastrous run of form that leaves his future under a cloud.

Crucially, co-controlling owner Todd Boehly – widely recognised as the face of the new Chelsea regime – is believed to be among those most supportive of Potter behind the scenes and, at least for the time being, believes a change of boss would set the team’s development back.

Boehly heads up a consortium that – along with US investment firm Clearlake Capital – purchased Chelsea for £4.25billion last year.

The Boehly-led consortium also includes Swiss business man Hansjörg Wyss and Mark Walter, co-founder and CEO of Guggenheim Capital.

Chelsea’s hierarchy turned to Potter in September after conducting a 100-day review of the club following their takeover and deemed the former Brighton boss the ideal candidate to replace Thomas Tuchel and lead their long-term project.

Boehly acknowledges the difficulties created by raft of changes being implemented to the playing squad and the club’s overall operation and feels Potter should be afforded more time.

However, that level of commitment to Potter is not a universally held view at Stamford Bridge with emerging doubts from other areas of the club.

Victory against Leeds on Saturday will help alleviate the pressure on Potter ahead of Tuesday’s crunch Champions League last 16 second leg tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Two negative results, however, could leave Potter in jeopardy and add to concerns about the former Brighton boss’ suitability following a run of two wins in 15 matches.

Potter said: ‘When you are a head coach and you start on this journey you say “well if the results aren’t good enough then you know your job is in peril.” That’s the life we lead.

‘I just have to accept that and do my best and try to improve the situation we are in until there is a point where we are not able to go forward. But that hasn’t been the case and we keep fighting.’

Problems caused by the sheer size of Chelsea’s squad following the club’s near £600m spree on new players were first revealed by Sportsmail this week and sources have reiterated those issues since.

But there has been some scepticism about the way Potter has dealt with some difficult moments this season, with the owners’ once unequivocal backing of their first managerial appointment now showing signs of wavering.

There are also mixed feelings among the Chelsea squad. Potter is said to have made a positive impression tactically and with how he came across as a person when he arrived.

However, though there is no sense Potter has lost the support of his players – a feeling he says he also has – or that they doubt him as a coach, as Chelsea’s season has progressed concerns have emerged about whether he has shown enough force of personality to halt the team’s slide and stamp his mark on the club and dressing room.

Meanwhile, all the uncertainty surrounding the club has also impacted performances.

Potter said of his stars: ‘They want to do better, they do. They care, they don’t want to have the results we have. There’s a feeling that it’s close. A feeling that we can take some steps but talk is one thing, we have to show it on the pitch, we have to see it on the pitch.’

Chelsea have won just two of their last 15 league games and had an issue recovering from setbacks such as going behind, something that may prove fatal for Potter were it to happen again when Leeds visit Stamford Bridge and will certainly turn the atmosphere even more negative than it is likely to be.

Potter said of his new-look squad: ‘It isn’t because they’re not trying, it isn’t because they’re lacking character. It’s because you are trying to find a way together, this is a team that’s been bought together over a couple of windows.

‘There’s quite a significant change, so in terms of a strong team, it’s hard to get that at this point and that sometimes when you need to go through those tough moments that bit isn’t there.

‘And that’s where we have to keep working with the team and why we keep having to have these moments together because that’s sometimes how you gain strength from them.’

Former Barcelona and Spain manager Luis Enrique has already been tipped as a potential replacement for Potter, but insiders have suggested there is currently no interest in the 52-year-old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *