Chelsea take on Manchester United this weekend for the first time this season, looking to beat them for the first time in ten tries. Fortunately, head coach Graham Potter did just that with Brighton just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, Manchester United and their manager Erik ten Hag are in a better place now than they were at the beginning of the season, so the challenge facing Potter will be quite different now.
“They have done well. Obviously, it wasn’t a great start from their perspective but they’ve battled back, got points and played well. It’s going to be a tough game.”
“They’ve changed a little in how they build-up, they are a little bit more direct. At the same time, they have the same quality. [...] There are a lot of similarities but they seem to have adapted to the competition, adapted to each other, learned more about each other. It’s a normal process really.
“I’d been at Brighton for three years when we played them and Erik had been at Manchester United six weeks if that, so there is a lot of learning you need to do and a process that you need to go through. That’s normal. He has the quality and naturally, they will get better and better as time goes on.”
“[Still] it’s a game of football and it’s always the same. You have to analyse the opponent and think of a way you can play yourself. But Manchester United are Manchester United, they have got top players and are galvanising into an impressive team. It’s a tough game, an exciting game, a fantastic game to be involved in. We’re looking forward to it.”
In fact, it’s now Ten Hag who has the advantage in terms of longevity of service, having been at United for months while Potter’s still just a few weeks into his tenure at Chelsea. And while we have yet to taste defeat under the new head coach (5 wins, 2 draws), that has more to do with individual quality than anything special Potter has been able to implement so far.
“Six weeks is quite a short time to really get my true and wonderful personality onto a team! It depends on who you listen to you take opinion from that.
“The personality is that of the players at the moment, absolutely. They’ve understood there is a challenge to be had and they’ve taken it up. They’ve been brilliant, really honest and responsible. So the personality is all them. You’ve got to wait for my boring one to emerge!”
All joking aside, Potter’s good vibes only methods have helped rebuild confidence in the team and in (some of) the players, and with no new injuries to deal with for once, we can hopefully come up with a winning formula once again.
“We are still in the process of recovery; pretty much as we were with Brentford. Conor [Gallagher] trained today so we will how he is over the 24 hours. Apart from the long-term absences, we’re pretty much where we were.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London