Graham Potter ‘accepts criticism’ in final interview as Chelsea head coach
Chelsea are set to begin an “exhaustive search” for a new manager after Graham Potter was sacked less than seven months into the job on Sunday night.
Potter was dismissed following Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa, a result which left the Blues in the bottom half of the Premier League table. The decision was made by co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, and with the full support of co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, but is said to have left members of the Chelsea squad “stunned”.
Chelsea’s new ownership believe sacking Potter, who they recruited from Brighton for £21m after getting rid of Thomas Tuchel earlier this season, gives the team a better chance of defeating Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League this month. Potter’s assistant, Bruno Saltor, will now take interim charge ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Liverpool, while a permanent appointment is not said to be “imminent”.
The former Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann is believed to be in contention for the job, along with former Tottenham and PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino and Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi. Follow live updates from Chelsea’s managerial search and the latest reaction to Potter’s sacking in our live blog below.
What was Graham Potter’s Chelsea record?
Graham Potter reached just 31 games with Chelsea, where he saw 12 wins, eight draws and 11 defeats. A win percentage of 39% is among the lowest of Chelsea’s recent Premier League era.
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 09:03
‘Everybody wanted it to work’ says Hayes
Following Chelsea’s Women’s Super League win over Aston Villa on Sunday, boss Emma Hayes spoke about the sacking of the men’s head coach Graham Potter.
She said: “Obviously I’m upset for Graham and the club. I know everybody wanted to make it work.
“If the owners feel like they have to go in another direction then of course, as always, I support the decisions and wish Graham the best.
“With 10 games left to play in the Premier League, I’m sure the boys will do everything to get us back on track. I’m a manager and I’m always gutted when managers lose their job.”
Mike Jones3 April 2023 09:01
Potter sacking sets new Premier League record
The dismissals of Brendan Rodgers and Graham Potter, by Leicester City and Chelsea respectively on Sunday, means this season has set a new record for Premier League sackings.
The number has now reached a staggering 12 with the previous highest total being 10 which occurred in four separate seasons.
West Ham’s David Moyes and Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper are the only managers in the bottom half of the table to still be in charge from the start of the season.
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 08:46
What next for Graham Potter?
Despite his sacking from Chelsea, Potter is set to retain serious interest from the rest of the Premier League – with a number of positions set to be available this summer.
Leicester and Tottenham are currently searching for new managers and Potter is the type of coach that could fit into their long-term plans, while Crystal Palace will appoint a permanent boss after Roy Hodgson takes charge until the end of the season.
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 08:31
Is Zinedine Zidane ready for a managerial comeback?
The former Real Madrid boss spoke as recently as last September about how his lack of fluency in English made him apprehensive about taking a Premier League job, but with his outstanding record both domestically and in Europe with Real, Chelsea will likely dig deep to come up with something mouth-watering if they believe he could be tempted.
The 50-year-old has spent nearly two years out of the game since his second spell at the LaLiga giants, a long time for a manager of his pedigree and hunger.
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 08:18
Would Chelsea turn to Pochettino?
The Argentinian has been out of work since leaving PSG, where he won last season’s Ligue 1 title, and his availability coupled with a record of success in the Premier League naturally places him near the top of the contenders list.
If Potter ultimately proved unable to rise to the massive challenge of marshalling some of the world’s biggest stars, the appointment of Pochettino – who has counted Lionel Messi amongst his charges – would carry no such risk.
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 08:02
Will Chelsea beat Tottenham to Julian Nagelsmann?
Tottenham target Julian Nagelsmann is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Potter. The former Bayern Munich boss led his side to the Bundesliga title in his first season after joining in the summer of 2021, also winning the German Super Cup in 2021 and 2022 before he was sacked and replaced by former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel late last month.
At just 35, the German is several years younger than some members of the Blues squad he would inherit, but the hotly-touted managerial talent’s age does not seem to be an issue for either Premier League side rumoured to be vying for his services.
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 07:45
Next Chelsea manager: Latest odds
The Chelsea board, including owner Todd Boehly, had preached patience when appointing Potter last September – believing he was the right man to lead their long-term project – but despite reaching the Champions League quarter-finals, his time ultimately ran out.
The Stamford Bridge gig is still one of the most sought-after jobs in European football and Julian Nagelsmann, who was himself surprisingly fired by Bayern Munich last month, is the early favourite but the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Zinedine Zidane and Oliver Glasner also appear to be in the running.
Here is a look at the contenders and the latest odds as to who will be named the next Chelsea boss:
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 07:35
Why Chelsea sacked Graham Potter… and what comes next
There was of course one predictable line that summed up one of the main problems for Graham Potter, amid a story that a number of football figures considered inevitable. Many of the players of course had names for the manager based on his wizard namesake, and there were repeated references to Quidditch. If that would indeed be predictable even if things were going well, the issue was that they were said with a bit of bite when things were going badly – which was often.
It reflects how a core of this expanded squad just never took Potter as seriously as they should a Chelsea manager. Some had to look up his career, and certain transfer targets didn’t know that much about him. That perhaps isn’t such a surprise in a young dressing room as international as this. It did play its part in ensuring Potter was fighting a losing battle from the very start, which meant the 47-year-old didn’t win enough games to justify staying in the job.
Here’s Miguel Delaney’s inside story on why Potter lost his job and where Chelsea will turn to next
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 07:25
Chelsea statement after sacking Potter
Chelsea’s statement read: “Chelsea FC has announced that Graham Potter has departed the club. Graham has agreed to collaborate with the club to facilitate a smooth transition. In his time with the club, Graham has taken us to the quarter final of the Champions League, where we will face Real Madrid. Chelsea would like to thank Graham for all his efforts and contribution and wish him well for the future.
Chelsea’s co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali also released a statement, saying: “On behalf of everyone at the club, we want to thank Graham sincerely for his contribution to Chelsea. We have the highest degree of respect for Graham as a coach and as a person. He has always conducted himself with professionalism and integrity and we are all disappointed in this outcome.
“Along with our incredible fans, we will all be getting behind Bruno and the team as we focus on the rest of the season. We have 10 Premier League games remaining and a Champions League quarter-final ahead. We will put every effort and commitment into every one of those games so that we can end the season on a high.”
Jamie Braidwood3 April 2023 07:24