Graham Potter to Chelsea: Why Blues needed to carry Brighton boss’ magic contact to Stamford Bridge | Soccer Information
If Chelsea are critical about rebuilding the membership from high to backside, a long-term job whoever is in cost, they’ve picked a person who ticks a whole lot of the correct bins in Brighton’s Graham Potter.
Six video games into the brand new season, his now former-Seagulls facet sit three factors and two locations above Chelsea within the desk, regardless of considerably inferior sources to the Blues and any of the opposite groups round them.
It is not likely about that small pattern, although. What Potter has been constructing at Brighton has been for much longer within the making. The apparent product of his philosophy has been their model of passing soccer, however his work on the south coast has run far past the techniques board.
Now, his success has confirmed sufficient for Chelsea proprietor Todd Boehly to resolve the 47-year-old is a greater match to run his new membership than a person who led them to the Champions League solely 15 months in the past.
That call to tug the set off simply 100 days into his possession will elevate eyebrows about appointing a person like Potter, who completed fifteenth and sixteenth in his first two seasons on the Amex Stadium.
“If I used to be Graham Potter, I’d discover it very arduous to imagine that they are going to do issues in another way,” mentioned Sky Sports activities Jamie Carragher, because the Blues parted firm with a sixth everlasting supervisor in 10 years.
But when Boehly’s rationale was, as he has privately said, to nominate a coach whose long-term imaginative and prescient he can higher align with then Thomas Tuchel’s dismissal, although nonetheless harsh, could show a shrewder transfer than it appeared on the time.
The American billionaire deserves the good thing about doubt. One among his different sporting initiatives, the LA Dodgers baseball staff, has had the identical supervisor in place since 2015, and it’s not uncommon for brand new house owners to need their very own man on the helm.
“Ultimately, in case you can align an excellent recruitment course of and identification with an excellent surroundings, you may achieve perception and momentum.”
That was Potter telling Sky Sports activities about how he sewed the seeds of his managerial profession at Ostersunds, the Swedish minnows he took from the fourth tier to European soccer. But it surely rings simply as true to how Boehly desires to run one of many world’s greatest golf equipment.
Since strolling via the door on the Amex in 2019, he has performed a significant half in turning Brighton into one of many Premier League’s most cohesive models, all whereas working with a internet spend of £30m in revenue.
The Seagulls have made a reputation for his tactical flexibility and passing soccer from again to entrance, all of the extra spectacular given the extra pragmatic model favoured by predecessor Chris Hughton. That comes compared to Tuchel’s Chelsea who, even in his brightest moments, all the time struggled to nail down a transparent identification.
Have a look at the trail Leandro Trossard has trodden since he joined in the identical summer season as Potter. Signed as a winger, he has performed as a quantity 10, a false 9, in central midfield and extra just lately at wing-back, and impressed in each position.
Would many different managers watch 6ft 6ins centre-back Dan Burn in coaching and convert him right into a left wing-back? The checklist goes on – Pascal Gross, Steven Alzate, Joel Veltman, Alexis Mac Allister. The flexibility of his squad has been nearly unmatched throughout the division.
It requires gamers with the flexibility to be moulded, however must be a transparent signal of a coach who each understands his gamers’ strengths and may make them higher.
Tuchel did make his personal mark on that entrance, unleashing Antonio Rudiger’s potential as one of many Premier League’s strongest centre-backs, however extra just lately his nice work on wing-back Reece James has been overshadowed by the ill-fated determination to maneuver Chelsea’s greatest crosser to proper centre-back.
“[Graham’s] greatest strengths are how he plans the sport and what he desires us to do,” Mac Allister advised Sky Sports activities Information this week.
“Tactically he’s wonderful, the teaching workers are actually good, they all the time attempt to assist us in each facet. He’s actually necessary for us, and I’m actually happy to work with him.”
Brighton’s checking account backs up his credentials. Marc Cucurella, signed solely final summer season, was offered to his new membership Chelsea final month for a £40m revenue. Yves Bissouma has moved on to Champions League Spurs, whereas Moses Caicedo is reportedly a January goal for Liverpool.
Undoubtedly, Potter makes gamers higher and Chelsea’s acquisition of Kyle Macauley, a recruitment analyst who has adopted him from Ostersunds to the Amex, may show one other bonus.
He’s credited because the brains behind the Cucurella signing, in addition to the membership’s spectacular purchases from South America, together with Caicedo.
Tuchel’s frayed relationship with Chelsea’s new house owners and his enjoying workers contributed to his downfall and helped put the writing on the wall inside Cobham as they toyed with the concept of creating a change, however Potter’s calm temperament ought to serve him higher at Stamford Bridge.
Even from his early days in Sweden, he has prioritised constructing his gamers and workers as folks as a lot as footballers, and at Ostersunds developed a ‘tradition academy’ to problem them outdoors their regular roles – with something from creating their very own artwork exhibition to collaborating in a efficiency of the ballet Swan Lake.
“It was about being open to new issues, stripping away the boundaries which typically exist in a staff, all of the hierarchies, and growing gamers as folks,” Potter advised Sky Sports activities. “You get to see folks at a human degree.”
Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell will most likely not be studying to pirouette any time quickly, however Potter’s philosophy stays the identical and has proven itself in his relationship along with his gamers in his newer jobs.
“He is a gamers’ supervisor,” former Swansea winger Nathan Dyer advised Sky Sports activities Information. “He is an issue solver. Tactically, he is unbelievable at ensuring if you step onto the pitch, everybody is aware of what they’re doing. What he’ll carry to Chelsea is strictly that.
“He is a really calm individual, and if he desires you to do one thing on the pitch, he takes duty if it goes flawed. He is by no means there to throw anyone beneath the bus.”
The subject of motivation additionally presents his greatest query mark, because it does of all managers with out an elite-level membership on their CV. Potter has been tipped for a high job for some whereas however with a managerial historical past consisting of Ostersunds, Swansea and Brighton, he’s largely untested working with world-class gamers and the calls for they carry on and off the pitch.
He wouldn’t be the primary proficient supervisor to wrestle to get the buy-in required from a squad who can typically be tough to impress. Chelsea’s long term of managerial appointments has owed practically as a lot to dressing room sentiment as Roman Abramovich’s excessive calls for.
However there are promising indicators to be discovered the respect he has constructed with the likes of Adam Lallana, signed recent from successful the Premier League with Liverpool in 2020, and Manchester United and Arsenal veteran Danny Welbeck.
Whereas some managers could wrestle to adapt to the extra possession-focused, front-foot recreation of the highest groups, Brighton have been doing it since he walked via the door – and on a few of these key metrics, they had been already proper within the combine along with his new facet’s top-six rivals final season.
“Graham, from my expertise with him, is a very deep thinker,” mentioned Lallana earlier this 12 months. “Him and his workers do 12-hour days which you’ll want to do if you wish to be one of the best, you can not depart any stone unturned.
“There are such a lot of completely different dynamics to the staff you’ll want to have a look at. You have bought a squad of 25 gamers, every of that are at a distinct stage of their profession and life with completely different issues, however Graham and his staff actually do cowl all bases.”
Boehly’s hopes of Potter constructing a brand new ethos within the Chelsea academy has solely a restricted historical past of bringing via youth, though Ben White’s rise to the highest and the performances of Robert Sanchez alone make a robust argument for his report.
Both approach, the cream of the crop in west London will probably be on one other degree to what he has been used to at Brighton, and his perception in course of and joined-up considering will stand him in good stead to construct that unity throughout Cobham.
There are not any certainties in soccer, far much less when taking a threat on a supervisor untested on the high degree of elite soccer. But when anybody is ready to step up and make their mark at a membership like Chelsea, it is Potter. Now, he simply has to hope he’s afforded the time to do it.
Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures
September 14: Crimson Bull Salzburg (H) – kick-off 8pm
September 18: Liverpool (H) – kick-off 4.30pm
Sunday 18th September 4:00pm
Kick off 4:30pm
October 1: Crystal Palace (A) – kick-off 3pm
October 5: AC Milan (H) – kick-off 8pm