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Potter reveals why he snubbed six Chelsea players during defeat to Aston Villa



(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Graham Potter has given his reasoning for the absence of six players during Chelsea’s uninspiring loss to Aston Villa.

Potter‘s team were beaten 2-0 by fellow European hopefuls Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.

Ollie Watkins put the away side ahead after 18 minutes following a defensive mix-up from Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly, which saw the forward lob Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Blues dominated possession and created a host of chances, with Mykhailo Mudyrk coming close on two occasions, including a one-on-one with Emiliano Martínez but it was tame and easy for the Argentine.

However, midway through the second half, a long-range strike from John McGinn put the final nail in the coffin to seal the win, leaving Potter’s job in limbo once again as the pressure piled on from supporters, some of whom joined in with the chanting of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’.

Six players were unused by the English manager, with the likes of Mason Mount, Edouard Mendy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Denis Zakaria, Hakim Ziyech and David Datro Fofana all missing out.

Speaking to post-match, Potter revealed why Mount remained as an unused substitute in the 2-0 defeat.

“With Mason, I just felt we were there in the game,” the 47-year-old said. “We made some attacking subs and wanted to see how it all landed. Mason is coming back and only had a couple of days training.”

The Chelsea head coach also addressed the other five players who were missing. When asked about the absences of Mendy, Aubameyang, Zakaria, Ziyech and Fofana, the Englishman confirmed that “all but Mendy were fit”.

With Chelsea, according to reports, looking to offload players this summer to trim the squad, and with a number of players continuing to miss out on gametime, some of the aforementioned individuals could be on their way out of Stamford Bridge this summer should suitable offers arrive.

It was a painful evening in the capital for Chelsea and it forced Potter to apologise to the supporters, who loudly booed the team off when Andy Madley blew the full-time whistle.

Potter said: “My apologies to the supporters. I know you want us to win and do better than we are. We need your support on Tuesday night and we will give it everything.”

They face Liverpool on Tuesday evening and Potter doesn’t want the team to dwell on the defeat. He continued: “We’ve got no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to respond and prepare for another big game. It’s as simple as that.”

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek added: “The gaffer in the dressing room straight away said that we have a lot of games this month, important ones that we need to be ready for and dwelling on this will certainly not help, especially with Liverpool coming up.

“So we need to put this behind us as quickly as possible, obviously analyse the game, but then move on and be ready for Liverpool.”