A new head coach is often a chance for players to impress anew, to convince of their qualities, to have a “fresh start”, as some have put it. So far we haven’t seen anything too drastically different in terms of team selections from Graham Potter, but he has come with a fresh pair of eyes to assess the squad and our capabilities, and he does like what he sees in Conor Gallagher.
And the youngster certainly served notice of his skills and intentions with a tremendous last-minute winning goal over the weekend, which certainly left us all quite delighted, including the head coach. But that of course still doesn’t mean that Gallagher will be immediately vaulted up to the top of the team sheet. He’s going to have to keep working his way up, rung by rung.
“I hope it’s the start of a very successful Chelsea career. He is a young player, you can see the influence he had at Crystal Palace last year but it’s another step, a different step. Like anything you have to adapt...”
“I really like him. He’s a fantastic kid, first of all, gives everything every day. Desperate to do well, desperate to play for Chelsea, desperate to be successful here, so that’s a great starting point — and then it’s about finding the right balance for him in the team, the team to perform maximally helps all the players.
“But in terms of Conor as a person, he has been A1. There’s no shortage of effort, no shortage of desire. You’re not going to get anyone better than him in terms of wanting to do well, so again that’s a great starting point.”
Chelsea’s busy and relentless schedule (and the increased number of changes allowed in a match) certainly should provide plenty of opportunities to jump into from said starting point, but so far this season we’ve seen a fairly distinct division between starters and substitutes. Presumably those lines will have to start getting blurred if we are to navigate this fixture list successfully and sustainably.
“We’ve got a really intense period — 12 games in six and a half weeks, something like that. We need everybody; it’s impossible to play with 11 players. So Conor will get his time, will get his chances, his opportunities to perform.
“We have to try and help the team perform in a good way so all individuals can play well in it [...] maybe the team hasn’t functioned as well as is optimal for any player. All the players maybe haven’t performed as they would have liked to, but that’s the work and what we would like to do.”
-Graham Potter; source: Evening Standard
Let’s get to work!