Soccer  

Graham Potter relieved as Chelsea end winless run

Chelsea manager Graham Potter said he was relieved to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday and played up the ability of new signing Mykhailo Mudryk.

Potter was under pressure heading into Sunday’s match after only winning two of the previous 10 Premier League games but that eased after Kai Havertz’s 65th minute header handed Chelsea their first win of 2023. They headed into this match with a growing list of absentees — with Potter confirming the latest in Denis Zakaria who will miss four weeks — and off the back of a 2-1 defeat to west London neighbours Fulham on Thursday.

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“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved — but it’s nice to get a win,” Potter said postmatch. “I thought we played better than getting no points against Fulham and when you get a red card for Joao Felix, who’s the last thing you’d expect to get a red card, you think blooming heck, we’ve done something here with getting luck. You can’t rely on that, you have to keep going.

“You have to deal with the bad times, accept the criticism that comes your way and take responsibility. The players have suffered of course, it’s not nice, and that’s why it’s important to enjoy the win today and the three points. They give us a shot in the arm for the weekend.”

Up next for Chelsea are Liverpool on Saturday at Anfield and Potter will hope to have their new €70 million signing Mudryk available for selection. He watched on from the stands having completed a move to Chelsea earlier in the day.

He was unveiled to the supporters at half-time and Potter is looking forward to having the Ukraine forward available.

“You’re never surprised in the transfer window because things happen,” Potter said on how quickly the transfer was completed. “In terms of what he brings, he’s a young player with a big future, great in one-vs-one, he can attack the backline, can play in wide areas. He’s an exciting player and our supporters will like him.”

With Chelsea coping with a host of absentees, Potter was asked whether he’s expecting the club to move again in the transfer window having already completed four signings.

“It’s part of what I’ve been talking about for a long time,” Potter said. “When you’re analysing football, it’s just the results which effect everything.

“But there’s a period of transition, you have to stabilise things, and work to support the club as best you can. If you’re in a position where in a too short period, too many people are making recruitment decisions, it’s not a long term or short term recipe for success. We have to stabilise things, make good decisions and align our resources as they have to be used in the right way.”