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“Positive” – Potter believes decision to take £88m star out of team will see Chelsea reap rewards in long term



(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Graham Potter has defended his decision to take Mykhailo Mudryk out of the Chelsea team in recent weeks and believes the £88 million signing will benefit from it.

The 22-year-old arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk during the January transfer window after Chelsea beat Arsenal to the signing of the Ukraine international.

Mudryk has featured for Chelsea six times – starting in three of them – so far since his transfer to England.

After coming off the bench with seven minutes to go in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the end of February, Mudryk was left on the bench as an unused substitute for the wins against Leeds United and Borussia Dortmund.

However, Mudryk could come back into the team against Leicester City on Saturday afternoon with Raheem Sterling a huge doubt for the Premier League clash due to a tight hamstring.

“He will be in the squad tomorrow and there is a chance he can play,” confirmed Potter on Mudryk’s potential involvement.

The Chelsea head coach added: “He is a player we believe in a lot and is adapting to the new situation. When he arrived, he was at the start of a pre-season campaign really. So to come in and hit the Premier League running is not easy to do. But day by day, and week by week, he is getting stronger.”

Potter’s treatment of players hasn’t gone unnoticed in the dressing room. Players have come to the defence of the way the 47-year-old has handled the squad, which saw Marc Cucurella come back into the side to produce a Man of the Match performance against Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek.

And Potter believes Mudryk may also benefit from not being in the team in recent games as he continues to adapt and settle into his new life in England.

“Yeah, I think so,” responded Potter when asked about whether or not Mudryk would benefit from being out of the team and being given time in training.

“Of course every player wants to play and it’s important that players play to improve, I think that’s a fact but at the same time it’s not a straight road.

“Sometimes you have to take a step away and sometimes, okay, you need a bit of training time, you just need a breather, lots of factors.

“So hopefully he can benefit from the time he’s had and again, it’s not easy for him to arrive in the middle of pre-season for him and to come into a new country, a new club, a new league and just hit his absolute maximum level regardless of the fee. I know people look at the fee but it doesn’t change the situation that he’s in.

“So we’re positive about him, we’re positive about the future for him but we need to just help him settle and help him understand what he needs to do to help us.”