Two former Chelsea stars explained why the Graham Potter sack debate is nonsense and the Blues boss must be backed, though a third pundit without an affiliation to the club sees the situation differently.
Chelsea suffered yet another damaging blow to their top four hopes on Thursday night. The Blues were unbeaten in 20 Premier League matches against Fulham dating back to 2006. That streak was snapped following an error-strewn 2-1 defeat that saw Marco Silva’s side maintain their remarkable charge for a European place.
Joao Felix looked bright and was arguably Chelsea’s top performer on the night. However, the new loanee received a straight red card for a reckless lunge that will result in a three-match ban.
It was the latest in a long line of disappointments for manager Graham Potter who has already seen Chelsea bow out of both domestic cups.
The reliable journalists among the media have all stated Potter’s position is not under any immediate threat. However, that’s not stopped the fanbase from voicing their opinion.
Chants for former boss Thomas Tuchel have become increasingly vocal post-World Cup. Todd Boehly is splashing the cash left right and centre, but results under Potter are not matching up.
Speaking during BT Sport’s broadcast, former Blues favourite, Joe Cole, was insistent Potter must not be sacked.
Cole put an incredibly positive spin on the 2-1 defeat to Fulham, and highlighted two reasons why the fans must lay off the ex-Brighton boss.
“There’s enough to believe that results will turn” – Joe Cole
“He needs time,” said Cole. “We saw a little bit of frustration from the fans creeping in today, they’ve just got to understand that there’s been so much change.
“I believe we have seen enough little sparks from Chelsea tonight. There’s enough to believe that results will turn.
“The club had been so stable in its own unique way over the last 20 years in its own way, and then you come in and you’re changing things behind the scenes, changing recruitment as you’ve got new owners, and I think Graham Potter has acquitted himself very well.
“He’s honest, what else you can do other than keep doing what you’re doing, keep believing in the players.”
Chelsea were again without a vast array of their finest stars due to injury. The likes of Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante remain absent, and Cole reckons it’d be a wholly different story if the missing players were available.
“That list of players injured, that is a top team,” continued Cole. “He has a whole team that would finish comfortably in the top six of the Premier League out injured.
“So you have to keep going. The fans should stick with him, should stick with the players.
“There’s a big opportunity for the characters, the Mason Mounts the Thiago Silvas, the Jorginhos, the Kantes – it’s a big opportunity for these big hitters to get in there, tomorrow morning.
“They’ve got a difficult game at the weekend against Crystal Palace, an energetic, good side at Stamford Bridge, get everyone in there and you almost want a siege mentality.
“I believe we have seen enough little sparks from Chelsea in there. There’s enough to believe that results will turn.
“The manager and the team will be better for having gone through this tough period. They have to keep going.”
“Are the fans going to sit by and watch this?” – Peter Crouch
Fellow pundit Peter Crouch acknowledged Potter’s six-year deal and recent appointment make it unlikely he’s removed any time soon.
However, the former Liverpool striker also warned Chelsea’s fanbase won’t sit idly by and readily accept Potter’s football that is seeing the club tumble down the table so far.
“The manager’s on a six-year contract, they want to build something, but that doesn’t work if you sack him now, are the fans going to sit by and watch this?” Crouch said.
Potter just unlucky?
Former Chelsea defender Gary Cahill instead echoed many of Cole’s sentiments, adding: “That’s the pressure of being at Chelsea, but I do feel for him, there’s been a lot of changes, he just needs the dust to settle.
“He’s getting no luck. I think it really is a bit of patience from the fans an the club.
“There’s a lot of changes at the club and they need to settle down.
“I remember once we finished 10th and the next season we won the title. You have to work to change it. You feel the pressure, and ultimately the big players have to help the younger players through.
“Potter must wonder when his lucks going to change. The injuries and the sending offs were massive moments in the game. They were just getting back into it.”