Graham Potter called four of his most senior players together for crisis talks at the club’s training ground on Tuesday. The move came after the Chelsea manager admitted that coping with the job has been “a struggle” after just one win in the last eight Premier League games.
The signing of Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid in a £10m deal could at least be a boost.
The striker’s loan transfer was registered in time for Thursday’s game against Fulham, although Chelsea will only learn if the Portuguese is eligible to play after a work permit hearing this morning.
In the meantime, Potter has felt the need for frank talks with senior players in a bid to get the club moving in the right direction again.
“I spoke really at length yesterday with Thiago (Silva), Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorgi(nho), (Mateo) Kova(cic) – we had a really good conversation,” he said. “They again showed their qualities as people.
“They were honest, articulated their concerns well. They articulated their positivity, the articulated their responsibility. And I think we are in a place where we can move forward.
“When you lose, or don’t get the results, it is painful, it really is. It affects your family. As much as you try to have balance and perspective, I am a human as well and it is a struggle.
At the same time, you have to take responsibility ultimately. What am I going to do? Be the Chelsea manager and not expect pressure, trouble, challenge, stress? It would be strange of me to do that.”
On a happier note, Potter added on his new 23-year-old signing: “Joao’s a quality player, can make a difference in the final third of the pitch, is young but has obviously had a lot of really good experience. He’s a quality player that gives everyone a lift.”
Chelsea have the chance to move level on points with Liverpool and Fulham if they can beat the Cottagers at Craven Cottage. Defeat, however, would leave Potter in a hugely precarious position, and there would likely be a toxic atmosphere at Stamford Bridge for the next match against Crystal Palace on Sunday.