Potter sends Chelsea squad Borussia Dortmund warning ahead of massive Champions League tie
Graham Potter has warned his Chelsea side of Borussia Dortmund’s threat ahead of a ‘special’ night at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Chelsea will need to score at least once to have any hope of progressing into the Champions League quarter-finals after their 1-0 defeat to Dortmund last month in the first leg at the Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund travel to the English capital with huge momentum. Edin Terzić’s side have won their last 11 matches and currently place second behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Potter’s side won 1-0 at the weekend against Leeds United to boost confidence levels in the squad after a run of three consecutive defeats in all competitions.
Chelsea haven’t got carried away and immediately switched their focus to Tuesday’s heavyweight clash.
The Blues boss outlined the huge challenge that awaits his side and offered a glowing verdict of the visitors, sending a strong message to his side to be at their very best if they want to win the game and tie.
“It’s a big game, an exciting game, a chance to go through to the last eight of the Champions League,” the 47-year-old told reporters. “It will be a special night at Stamford Bridge, so we’re really looking forward to that. All our thoughts are on being positive, winning the game, and going through. In terms of what we learned from the previous game (against Dortmund) they are a top opponent.
“You can see from their results in the Bundesliga, they are in a fantastic vein of form, winning games constantly. That tells you as a team they are doing a lot well. Attack and defend, good individuals, well coached. So it’s a big challenge for us but we’re excited for it.”
Potter has come under heavy criticism from supporters in recent weeks and months, and felt the wrath of their frustrations in the last couple of games with audible boos from supporters.
He accepts fans are allowed to express their feelings towards the side, something he believes they have to accept due to the dismal form since October, but has called for the fans to be right behind the team on Tuesday to help push them over the line.
“The fans are always entitled to air their views and they have been suffering like the rest of us have in terms of results,” added Potter.
“I thought the reception we had and the support we had at the weekend was fantastic. They got behind the team and they know the importance of the game tomorrow night. They want the team to go through.
“They know how important they are because in the Champions League away from home it is tough – and we want to make sure it is tough for Dortmund. We need our supporters for that.”
Tuesday’s tie has the possibility of going to penalties due to the away goal rule being scrapped. If Chelsea are only able to lead by a margin of one up until the end of extra-time, then it will go the distance in the capital.
Chelsea have prepared themselves for all outcomes, with Potter also revealing who their current penalty taker is now that Jorginho has left the club.
“The boys are always practising penalties and we’ve of course prepared for that eventuality because it’s a possibility,” Potter continued. “We want to get it done before that, but if not then ok, then we have to go through in that way.
“And it’s Kai (Havertz). Kai’s been the designated penalty taker in the absence of Jorgi.”