LONDON – Chelsea’s new American owners took a gamble with their first managerial appointment of the era, hiring Graham Potter from Premier League rivals Brighton on Thursday despite having no coaching experience at the highest level of football.
Potter, 47, agreed to a five-year deal as the successor to Thomas Tuchel, who was fired Wednesday by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Buhly over his relationship with Chelsea’s recently installed ownership team. He was fired after an apparent malfunction.
While Tuchel won the Champions League with Chelsea last year and already runs a locker room of football superstars – such as Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – at Paris Saint-Germain, Potter has had a more uncertain career and has won just one trophy. , Swedish Cup. In 2017.
It came during a seven-year spell at far-flung Swedish club Ostersund (2011-18), which he led from the country’s fourth tier to the first division and then to the Europa League for the first time.
Since then, he has coached Swansea in the second division of English football for one season, guiding the team to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, before taking the job at Brighton in 2019. – Highest in club history.
Chelsea said Potter would bring “progressive football and innovative coaching” to the club, while Buhly said the new coach “fits our vision.”
“Not only is he extremely talented on the pitch,” Bohly said of Potter, “he has the skills and abilities that extend beyond the pitch that will make Chelsea a very successful club.”
Potter, who played mostly for lower league English teams from 1992-2005 before retiring aged 30 and going into higher education, is widely regarded as one of the country’s best tacticians. Counts and has a bold, fun style. A game that has won championships if not trophies. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he is a “big fan” of Potter because his “players move freely and … have the courage to play anywhere.”
And Bohly, the face of Chelsea’s ownership, believes Potter is the man to build a long-term footballing ethos and identity across the club as a new era begins.
The demands Potter will face at Chelsea will be starkly different to those at his former clubs, however, unlikely to give him as much time to cultivate the team as he has so far in his career.
“He is expected to win every week, to challenge for trophies,” said former Chelsea player and assistant coach Jody Morris. “It’s completely different to be at a club where you’re expected to be fit and can go twice. Months without winning a game. You go a few games without a win at Chelsea and that’s it. will be completely different.”
Potter’s time in Sweden provides an interesting insight into why he is admired as a good manager and thinker of the game.
Under Potter, Ostersund, who prided himself on developing his players as people rather than athletes, started what he called a “culture academy” where squad members and coaches would train their mental under pressure. Processes and decision making were challenging.
After receiving a year’s promotion, Potter and his cast began a modern dance production at the City Theatre, set to music from Swan Lake.