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Potter focusing on building relationships, managing the squad, improving the team


Chelsea Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

One of the things that stood out about Graham Potter as we started learning about him was his postgraduate degree in leadership and “emotional intelligence”. Certainly not a common qualification for a head coach, but when Potter talks about key aspects of his job, it becomes evident that he is indeed putting those ideas that he might have learned during that course into real world application.

Football management, especially football management at the highest level of the game, is often as much about “man”-management as it is about tactics or formations or strategies or data. Potter certainly isn’t neglecting those other facets (though he might delegate dealing with some of them), but when he talks about the team, his focus is very much on the human side of things.

“As I’ve said many times, the players are open, honest and responsible. They are ambitious and determined and want to do well. So far so good from my perspective.”

“[And] as far as I’m aware, they are still human beings. There is a media perception when they get to a certain level that they grow a second head or something and they become not like the rest of us. That is easy to put out there but the reality is not the case.

“At Brighton, there weren’t ‘big’ players but Adam Lallana won the Champions League and played for Liverpool for seven years, Danny Welbeck has had a good career and I spoke to those guys and did alright with them despite their second head because players have massive egos.”

“You underestimate that in Premier League squads, there are 24 players who all want to play and know the consequences if they do well. So when you don’t pick them, they are disappointed and their egos are damaged and they are hurt and disappointed. People are complex in all walks of life and it’s not straightforward this job whatever the level. So far we have managed it ok.”

Chelsea Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Of course, things are always easier when we’re winning. And it will be interesting to see how Potter handles an (inevitable) downturn. Not that we should be in a hurry to test that out.

“I’m not naive and I know there will be times where there [will be noise around Chelsea]. It’s why I don’t get too carried away when it’s positive and I don’t get too carried away when it’s not so positive. It’s part of the job.”

“From the outside, the results are good. There are always things that can be improved, that is the nature of the job. But I can’t sit here and complain anything about the results we’ve had. [...] There were loads of things we had to get our heads around quickly but the players have been really receptive and open and honest. I think we are starting to build a nice relationship.”

-Graham Potter; source: Football.London

Sugar and spice, and everything nice!

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