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Potter: Managing Chelsea ‘hardest job in football’

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Graham Potter has described managing Chelsea as “the hardest job in football.”

Chelsea travel to Fulham on Thursday night seeking to improve on a disappointing run of six defeats in nine games, which has seen them drop to 10th place in the Premier League table.

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It is not the start to the season new owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital envisaged when assuming control of the club in May, following sanctions placed on their predecessor Roman Abramovich for alleged links to Russia president Vladimir Putin.

Last summer saw a major overhaul at an executive level with Potter replacing Thomas Tuchel as head coach along with the departures of club director and lead transfer negotiator Marina Granovskaia, technical and performance director Petr Cech, chairman Bruce Buck, chief executive Guy Laurence and head of international scouting Scott McLachlan.

Boehly has since drafted in Christopher Vivell from RB Leipzig as technical director, Paul Winstanley as director of global talent and transfers with Joe Shields due to arrive from Southampton in a senior recruitment role alongside Laurence Stewart, charged with a “global technical director” role.

And Potter said: “Change is challenging in any organisation. The change [of ownership] happened for events outside of us so it is not like there is some sort of coup gone on. This is what it is.

“We have to deal with the new now and we have to build things up again because things have changed, things have gone, people have left. That was part of the challenge to come [here].

“I understood that was going to be really difficult. I just thought from a leadership perspective, it is fascinating, challenging and stimulating and ridiculously hard.

“I think this is probably the hardest job in football because of that leadership change and because of the expectations and because of rightly where people see Chelsea. And obviously I didn’t think we would lose 10 first-team players [to injury] as well.

“But that’s just where we’re at. All I can do is come to you guys, speak honestly, give you my perspective and then understand the criticism you’ll get because you lose, if you do.”

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Despite Chelsea supporters chanting the names of Tuchel and Abramovich in Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup third-round defeat at Manchester City, Potter insisted he was not interested in garnering any sympathy despite mounting criticism of the team’s performances.

“Ultimately, I am not after pity here,” he added. “I am really grateful and privileged to be here. I look at how do you get through this tough period: be really grateful for it because it is an unbelievable challenge. Like, wow. What else could you be doing with your life? Worse.

“It is pain but then life can actually be pain. Life can really kick you in the nuts and then you have to recover from it, you have to deal with it, you have to move forward, you have to go again and that’s what makes life better when it turns to a good place.

“I feel like I have to take my responsibility and be grateful for the opportunity and the challenge I have.”

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