GRAHAM POTTER has hit back at claims that he is too nice.
Former Premier League stars Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Danny Murphy all reckon Chelsea’s head coach should get more angry.
It follows Potter’s diplomatic approach to being denied a stonewall penalty at West Ham, after which he refused to blast the officials for not giving his team the late decision that could have won him the game.
But Potter said: “If you think that you can start a coaching career in the ninth tier of English football — the Northern Counties Division One — and get to this point, Chelsea and the Champions League, without sometimes getting angry or being nice, then I would suggest you don’t know anything about anything.
“Of course I get angry, I’m a human being, it’s just I choose to conduct myself in the way I think is the right way to conduct myself on the sideline.
“I think the same media are talking about me being more angry but then running stories about problems with referees at grassroots level.
“They don’t see the connection. That’s not to say we don’t all lose our temper; we do because it’s an emotional thing.
“I have a responsibility to myself, to Chelsea, to the game, and to act in a way that is the right thing for me.”
Ex-Manchester United and West Ham star Ferdinand said Potter should have been more like Jose Mourinho after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Hammers.
Ferdinand insisted: “Mourinho would have been out there tomorrow and that would have been the story, the back page would have been ‘Mourinho slams VAR’.
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“It takes the focus off what happens on the pitch.”
And Cole, who played for both West Ham and Chelsea, agreed: “He’s always diplomatic.
“But you need to cause a bit of an uproar because it takes the deflection from the bad elements of your performance.”
Murphy also wanted to see more fire from Potter.
He said: “I wish he was more angry. He was deprived of a win he desperately needed.”
There are concerns the level of abuse aimed at officials at junior level is on a worrying upward trend and it is influenced by the behaviour of the game’s big names.
Potter started his management career in charge of a university team and arrived at Chelsea via Swedish minnows Ostersunds.
Chelsea’s chilled out coach merely described Tomas Soucek’s handball as a “great save”.
Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta was on the bench during the incident.
It was quite unfair for us to maybe not get a penalty and three points
He said: “I was angry. I can speak about myself and when I was watching the iPad on the bench. It was a bad decision that we were not awarded a penalty, that is the truth.
“It was quite unfair for us to maybe not get a penalty and three points.
“But I’ve been with different managers who have expressed themselves in a different way.”
Azpilicueta, 32, is helping to bed in the eight new players who signed for Chelsea during the January transfer window.
The long-serving defender said: “It’s been a bit of a busier January transfer than before but in my role, I try to help them adapt as quickly as possible to the team.
“In football, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to start your journey in a new club, country, a different language.
“So from my side, I’ve been trying to help integrate them as quickly as possible in the team so that they can express themselves and show their quality, like a few of the boys have done already. I think we have exciting times ahead.”
The Champions League is Chelsea’s last hope of a trophy this season.
Right-back Azpilicueta said: “I never arrive at a Champions League game without thinking we can win it. Tomorrow is not an exception.
“The reality is we’re not in the best form with results but it’s a new competition and it’s time to prove it on the pitch.
“We have to go step by step. It’s not worth looking past this game and it’s a big challenge in this stadium. We have to win the next challenge, show concentration and focus.”