Azpilicueta, crisis talks, fans response: What Graham Potter said ahead of Spurs vs Chelsea
Graham Potter addressed the media ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Chelsea are looking to claim their first win in six after back-to-back defeats, as well as their first Premier League win away from home since October as they prepare to face their fierce London rivals.
Potter is under-pressure from the fans to deliver results after they were booed off at Stamford Bridge last weekend following their dismal 1-0 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Southampton.
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Spurs will be without manager Antonio Conte, who remains in Italy recovering from his gallbladder surgery, which will see his assistant Cristian Stellini take charge of the side on Sunday.
Here’s what the Chelsea head coach had to say in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.
Laughing off crisis talks
“Sorry I’m late I’ve just come out of a crisis meeting!”
Cesar Azpilicueta and team news
“He’s as ok as can be when you’ve had that concussion. He won’t be ready for the weekend as we have to go through the protocols, but he’s doing well.
“We’ve had a good week’s training. Everybody is available apart from N’Golo and Christian Pulisic, who are making progress and joining the warm-up. They’ll be more integrated next week.”
Response from players
“The response has been really good. We’ve had conversations and talks, to put thing into perspective as well. It’s been a tough week. Results haven’t been good enough, it’s important to acknowledge that…”
“Yes, I’ve spoken to them. Same as it’s always been. I’ve been under pressure here for four months. That continues. They’ve been great. They see where we’re at, but also frustrated. We have to do better.”
“Supporters, rightly so, are upset because we lose at home to Southampton. Supporters care, when they are upset they make their frustrations known.
“When you lose to bottom of the league and you’re Chelsea, it’s completely okay (to be criticised). Results haven’t been good enough, 1-0 defeat to Southampton isn’t good enough, you are entitled to be angry.
“How do you analyse the situation, the season, are the factors that bring us to this point? You have to consider that as well. Results haven’t been good enough. Entitled to be angry. There are also thing that are a contributing factor to that result as well.
“I wouldn’t say anything. I’m not here to convince them. My actions and the team have to convince them. We’ve got to win football matches. There’s nothing I can say.”
“It’s really tough. (I said) it’s the toughest job in football a few weeks ago. There’s a lot of factors for that. Again, if you take the season, a sub-optimal pre-season. Speaking to a couple of the experienced guys, they thought it was the worst pre-season they’ve had for different reasons. That’s not to blame anybody. That happened.
“I don’t want to speak about that (the reasons). Organisationally, the tour didn’t work as well as it would like. I wasn’t there so I can’t say.”
“We thought we made progress, but the first half against Southampton was below par. The sky can fall. These are some of the facts. Inconvenient facts, but that’s the situation.”
Future for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
“He does (have a future). He’s had a really good training week. He’s available for selection.”
What’s required against Spurs
“A strong performance. We need three points. It’s a game we’re looking forward too. Training and response been really good.”
Scheduled days off
“They were scheduled. After the week we had, with Champions League, it fitted that they were there.”
“I’m the manager of Chelsea. I’ve been asked for four months. Pressure is a two-way thing. Was I under pressure four months ago? I don’t know. With the results the way they are, you accept the criticism that comes.”
“It doesn’t matter who scores, the more goalscorers you have the better it is. Whilst you don’t score, there is always a debate to have. My focus is always how a team, the attack perform better. With the quality we have, we’ll score.
If you play that game again (Dortmund), you score 9/10. Joao Felix hit the bar, had a chance in the first half as well. That’s positive. Sometimes you can go through period where lots of things go against you.
“If we perform to the level we did against Dortmund, and start of West Ham, we’ll score goals. The quality is there.
“The past is the past. We need to focus on the next game (vs Spurs) and how we can attack well there against a team that defends well.”