Graham Potter is a very likeable chap and that came across swimmingly during his first appearance as Chelsea boss.
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Potter, 47, replaced Thomas Tuchel last week as his move from Brighton to Chelsea caused some shock but when you think about, this makes a lot of sense.
The English coach has worked wonders wherever he’s gone and from Ostersunds to Swansea to Brighton he’s improved teams on a shoestring budget while also producing a sensational product to watch.
Speaking to the media for the first time at a press conference at Stamford Bridge ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League group stage game against RB Salzburg on Wednesday, Potter smiled throughout and revealed this would actually be his first-ever Champions League game in the flesh.
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Potter reflects on journey to get to the Champions League
After having a journeyman career which amassed just a handful of Premier League appearances in the mid 1990s and saw him play mostly in the lower leagues in England, Graham Potter has worked tirelessly for the last 17 years to get this opportunity.
He spoke warmly about having a great feeling with his new bosses, and the connection he wants to build with Chelsea’s fans through their team. but he was also in a very reflective mood when asked about his route to one of the biggest jobs in world soccer.
“When I left England to go to Sweden I was working in the ninth tier of English football to go to the fourth tier of Swedish football,” Potter said. “So in terms of where I sat, there is the bottom, then there’s a load of levels and then there’s me. I didn’t have any plan that I was going to be here sat in front of you guys. I’ve never had that.
“In terms of ambition, of course you want to test yourself at the highest level you can. Ambition is one thing. Responsibility is better in terms of working as hard as you can in the job you are doing, do as best as you can and take the steps when it is the best times to take the steps. There was no grand plan. I just focused on doing my best at every club I’ve been at. Try to take responsibility, analyze any mistakes you make, try to move forward and then it’s just about life, isn’t it? Nobody can predict how it’s going to go. Nobody knows. That is why it is so beautiful.”
Many will see Graham Potter joining Chelsea as a risky move in his life.
New American co-owner, and chairman, Todd Boehly fired Thomas Tuchel — widely regarded as one of the best tacticians in the game who led Chelsea to the Champions League title just over 12 months ago — after a poor start to the season and has overseen a summer transfer spend of $300 million.
It seems like Chelsea’s new ownership group will follow its predecessor when it comes to the hire ’em and fire ’em mentality to get results.
Doesn’t it seem risky for Potter to get involved in that cycle?
“Risks? If we walk up the road over there, there is a risk. That is what life is. No one knows what is going to happen in the future,” Potter said. “I left England when I was 30 years old and I went to a club that had sacked the manager every year for the last five years. Fourth tier in Swedish football, I left a secure job, left my wife’s business for an opportunity. Seventeen years later, after taking careful steps with my career, I haven’t just jumped at the first opportunity. I’ve tried to understand what was involved, whether it was the right time for me to take the next challenge.
“But I think that’s what life is. Life is about going outside of your comfort zone. Taking responsibility. It’s about believing there is more to us than what sits here now. I don’t really see it as a risk in a negative way. Everything is a bit unknown. That is the beauty of life.”
Philosophical Potter impresses during Chelsea unveiling originally appeared on NBCSports.com