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“Worst pre-season they’ve had” – Potter reveals Chelsea players’ verdict on unorganised US tour



(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Graham Potter has revealed he has been told by several experienced Chelsea players about how their pre-season tour of the United States last summer was the ‘worst pre-season’ they’ve had, criticising the organisation of the trip.

After the £4.25 billion takeover by the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital last May, Chelsea embarked on a tour of the United States for pre-season, then managed by Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea travelled from the west coast to the east coast during the tour of the US, which saw them play in Las Vegas, Charlotte and Orlando. They beat Club America, lost to Charlotte FC on penalties, before being thumped 4-0 by Arsenal to conclude their tour.

At the time, Tuchel said: “(We) could feel the energy level drop after Las Vegas and after the Charlotte game because of the amount of travelling, very humidity, and very hot temperature. It made it tough because it’s now been two weeks on the road.”

Since then, Chelsea have appointed Potter to replace Tuchel, but results haven’t improved which has seen the Blues not win any of their last five matches in all competitions.

Potter knows nothing he will say can convince the supporters, many of who are frustrated, instead accepting the team need to do the talking on the pitch.

Ahead of their match against Spurs in the Premier League, the 47-year-old said: “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.”

Addressing the season as a whole, Potter reflected back on the pre-season preparations and detailed conversations he has had with several experienced first-team players, who have slammed the tour of the US.

But the Chelsea head coach refused to play the blame game, insisting organisation was a heavy downfall of the trip.

Potter added: “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.”