Potter: Chelsea players told me summer was their worst pre-season ever

Graham Potter has revealed the Chelsea squad have told him they had their “worst pre-season ever” in the summer as the under-fire manager defended his side’s poor run of results.

Former Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel was in charge of Chelsea for their tour of the US, which was planned by the previous regime before the £4.25bn sale to the Todd Boehly-led consortium in May.

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Chelsea have just one win in their last 10 matches in all competitions and Potter is putting that partly down to the “suboptimal” pre-season some of his players had.

“It’s really tough [to integrate new players and get results],” said Potter ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports.

“My quote a few weeks ago is that it’s the toughest job in football, and there are lots of factors for that.

“Speaking to a couple of the experienced guys, they thought it was the worst pre-season they’ve had for different reasons. That’s not to blame anybody – that happens.”

Asked for the reasons he replied: “Organisationally, the tour didn’t work as well as they’d like. I wasn’t there so I can’t say.”

‘I spoke to owners – support still there’

Potter was late to his news conference on Friday as he joked he had just come from a crisis meeting with the owners following reports there were high-power talks about the club’s struggles this week.

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Graham Potter brought his sense of humour to the Chelsea press conference as he put his late arrival down to being in a ‘crisis meeting’

The 47-year-old said he had chatted with the owners and they continue to back him, as he took a dig at the media.

“I’ve spoken to them and it’s the same as it’s always been, there’s always been support,” said Potter.

“I’ve been under pressure here for four months from you guys don’t forget.

“[Their support] continues. They’ve been great and been brilliant. I think they also see where we’re at and at the same time are frustrated because results are what they are and we have to do better.”

COBHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Co Owner Behdad Eghbali, Head Coach Graham Potter and Co Owner and Chairman of Chelsea Todd Boehly of Chelsea at Chelsea Training Ground on September 8, 2022 in Cobham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

‘Transfer spending has increased pressure’

In the short time Potter has been in charge since he replaced Tuchel in September it has been the biggest period of change in the club’s recent history

Chelsea have spent more than £600m in the transfer market over the last two windows, but injuries and adaptation time have kept the Blues from turning their fortunes around, according to Potter.

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“There’s a manager change in the middle of a Champions League Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. We have the most unprecedented injury situation in that period in the Premier League,” he said.

“Then the World Cup. The club invests a lot of money in the squad which does that (gestures upwardly) to the pressure, the expectation and to the noise.

“But the players that we’ve got are not 28-year-old, 400-game Premier League players. They’re young players that you need to take time to adapt to. At the same time, the injury situation that we had [means] you have to try to get them up to speed to play in the Premier League.

“We thought we were making progress and then we have the first half against Southampton – our third game in a week returning from a Champions League game – that was below par. The sky can then fall in. These are some of the facts. Inconvenient facts if you say he’s no use, but that’s the situation.”

Watch Tottenham vs Chelsea on Super Sunday from 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 1.30pm.

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