London: Graham Potter insists he still has the backing of Chelsea’s owners but admits responsibility for the club’s awful run of results rests squarely on his shoulders.
The Chelsea manager has come under enormous pressure after a run of two wins in 15 Premier League games which has left his side languishing in 10th place in the table.
Potter told reporters last week his family had received anonymous death threats in response to Chelsea’s form and he knows the noise will only intensify unless they beat struggling Leeds United at home on Saturday.
“There is support and I’ve spoken to them. But I’m not going to hide behind that. The results haven’t been good enough and when you’re a coach you are responsible for that,” Potter said at a news conference on Friday.
“If results aren’t good you have to accept the criticism and all the noise. My job is to stay with the team and stay focussed and prepare the team as best as I can and win the game.” Potter faces a crucial few days with Borussia Dortmund coming to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with the German side 1-0 ahead.
Should Chelsea fail to overturn that deficit they face the prospect of no European football next season which is not what American owner Todd Boehly would have envisaged when he led a consortium to buy the club last year.
“I don’t think at any point it’s a positive for us to not be in Europe. A club with ambition and desire to compete. At the moment, we’re not (in a European place), and that’s what we have to work on,” Potter said.
Chelsea’s biggest problem has been bedding in the huge number of players that have arrived at the club in the last two transfer windows with around 300 million pounds being spent on the January window alone.
Potter played down any suggestion that he had too many players to pick from, insisting the mood on the training pitch was good.
“We’re coaches and it’s our job to work with the players we have. The spirit has been as good as it can be given the results and the period we’ve been in,” he said.
“We all admit we can do better, firstly me and the players are honest enough to accept they can do better as well. We’re all fighting and we need to show it on the pitch.” To add to Potter’s problems several key players will be missing from Saturday’s game with injuries.
Potter confirmed that Thiago Silva would be out for around six weeks after injuring his knee in the defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last week but said N’Golo Kante was back in full training after his injury, although not available for Leeds.
Mason Mount is unavailable with an abdominal injury while Reece James is a doubt with a tight hamstring.