We’ve seen it all before, and when that club statement article dropped from Chelsea on Sunday evening, we all knew exactly what it was.
Graham Potter had been let go by Chelsea after a terrible run of form that saw the club drop into the bottom half of the table after a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday evening. It was a decision that in the end felt inevitable, and a decision that simply had to be made.
How was Graham Potter sacked by Chelsea?
It was a decision that came after internal discussions after the Villa game, and then again on Sunday morning. There was no final decisions made by Sunday morning, and then they soon concluded before lunchtime that Potter had to go. The media world were not expecting it, and club sources had been communicating the the media that it was business as usual on Sunday morning. They had even been told that Potter would be taking today’s press conference, which will now be held by Bruno Salter I believe, who has been named as interim manager.
But it wasn’t a decision that was drastically changed, I believe that they just wanted to put the media off the scent until it was 100% decided that they would be pulling the plug on Potter, and they had told Potter himself. The former Brighton boss was told that his time was up as Chelsea boss around 3pm on Sunday afternoon and the news was delivered by Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart. And I am told that it is these two figures who were the ‘big part’ of the decision to sack Potter.
How did the players react to Graham Potter’s sacking at Chelsea?
Chelsea’s players were unaware of the decision and I’m told some of them were quite shocked by it despite the results. The club didn’t let on to the media or tell the players so that leaks would not come out in order to respect Potter and allow him to hear it from them first. Potter is said to naturally be gutted by the decision.
The owners had been determined to stick with Potter and back their decision to hire him. But in the end, the results, the league position, the odd decisions Potter was making, and the fact there had been no progress at all under him, were all the key factors in why the final decision was made. Fan pressure was also being felt and looked at, and in the end, they felt they had no choice but to move him on.
Potter hadn’t lost the dressing room as such, but there were more and more doubts starting to creep in from players. They respected Potter and had been putting the effort in and training well. Potter was appreciated by many of the players as well as the club for his emotional intelligence and having an open door policy. He took time to speak with the players and explain to them why they had not been playing, and took time to listen to their concerns. This was certainly one of the major positives and a big factor as to why players had not turned on him. Many of the players have been public in supporting Potter, and although not every player was fully supportive of him or happy under him, there wasn’t any real collective discontent amongst the players or any toxicity in training.
However, with bad form comes anger and frustration, and there was arguments amongst players after the Everton game and the Aston Villa game. The dressing room was toxic after those games, and again, there was a lack of leadership. This is another element that came in to play. Players and Chelsea hierarchy believed that Potter lacked leadership in those times and the ability to motivate and take control from the top. In the last couple of games, many players started doubting that Potter was the man to take Chelsea forward, and with these doubts came a turn in the tide, with players starting to lose the faith. This was also factored in when the club made their decision to sack Potter.
Who are the early contenders to replace Graham Potter at Chelsea?
I’m told Chelsea want to hire a new permanent manager as soon as possible, but that doesn’t mean it will be quick, because they are adamant that they get the right man in and want to move away from the hiring and firing and avoid this same thing happening again. They will use their experts in recruitment and football to make sure they get the right man next, and that is why it could take some time.
Julian Nagelsmann is being spoken about as the key favourite amongst the media, and he is absolutely being looked at by Chelsea, as I’ve been saying. I do believe there has been some contact at the very least with his people. But that has been tentative so far.
Mauricio Pochettino is liked by Chelsea and is also being considered, although Real Madrid are also touting him. Chelsea strongly considered Pochettino to replace Thomas Tuchel.
Luis Enrique is also a strong candidate being looked at. But when I spoke to a good source regarding Zinedine Zidane potentially taking the role, it was actually surprisingly played down to me.
One source believes the main three to keep an eye on is Nagelsmann, Pochettino, and Enrique. But there are links going around with the likes of Ruben Amorim as well, although he is not yet a name I have been told about yet.
Chelsea have a list of managers that they’ve had on a contingency list, which is completely natural at any club. So they will now begin to work through these names (some of which have not been publicly reported yet), and then they will make their collective decision, a decision that they are determined to get 100% right and pick the right person for the job.
It could take some time, but Chelsea are keen to get the new manager in place as soon as physically possible. Salter looks set to be in charge tomorrow evening against Liverpool.