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How Graham Potter saved himself from Chelsea sack after special Champions League night



(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Graham Potter survived a make or break week as Chelsea head coach to deliver two wins in a row to get lift the mood at Stamford Bridge.

It could be a turning point for the 47-year-old as he continues his Blues tenure following his appointment last September.

After a dismal run of results, Potter was handed an ultimatum of the matches against Leeds United and Borussia Dortmund being make or break over his future.

They narrowly edged past Leeds United with a 1-0 win on Saturday to end a run of three straight defeats and get them back to winning ways.

The first test was passed but it was all on Tuesday night: a last-16 Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were faced a one-goal deficit heading into the second leg, but they turned it around and booked their spot in the quarter-finals to breathe a new lease of life into all those connected with the club.

Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz were the difference to seal a 2-0 win on the night and a 2-1 aggregate win to knock out Dortmund, who were on an 11 game winning streak prior to the tie in the English capital.

All of the squad has stuck with Potter, with the Chelsea dressing room remaining united and together during the difficult times in hope of overcoming the tough period. They all were rewarded this week with the two wins.

Potter’s faced heavy criticism and pressure, which he accepts, admitting: “I think the supporters have been really fair with us. (The) supporters care, so when the results aren’t what they want, they feel pain. They have to articulate that pain somehow, to get rid of it, and whether that’s at me or whoever it is, we all know in this job that is what happens.

“They’ve been really supportive, they really have. They’ve stuck with the team and helped us on the pitch. Rightly so, when we haven’t performed the way we should, they’ve let their feelings known and that’s fair enough.”

The way Potter has handled the situation has been revealed to have been a key reason as to why he has remained in charge at Chelsea.

As reported by Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, Potter ‘held a number of personal talks with players, staff and members of the Chelsea’s board, including Boehly and Eghbali, over the past week to reassure individuals of his plans and listens to any concerns or suggestions they had’.

It’s added: “A number of players are understood to have been reassured by Potter’s heart-to-heart talks and impressed with his handling of the squad over the past two games in which he gave Mateo Kovacic the captaincy in the absence of Thiago Silva.”

Potter is celebrating Tuesday’s triumph which could give him the big boost of confidence to really begin his time in charge of Chelsea.

But the focus has already switched to preparing for Saturday’s Premier League clash away to Leicester City as they look to make it three wins on the spin.

“You have to recover and prepare for Saturday,” Potter told BT Sport. “It’s great for the boys. Two wins, two clean sheets after a tough period. It’s how you respond. The players have been fantastic.”