With Chelsea struggling in non-European games of late, Graham Potter’s looking to tomorrow’s Manchester City matchup in the League Cup as a chance to do a little better.
What that means for his lineup choices and approach is not quite clear. These sorts of games are often tricky in terms of finding the right balance of priorities, and that’s especially true given the current state of the team.
“The game on the weekend, the result was disappointing, and the performance was disappointing. We want to do better. We want to play better. The intention of that is clear for us all.
“We use this game as the next step for us. This is how we try to move forward. It’s a chance for us to learn more about the squad, more about the players. There are not shortcuts. You have to go through some pain sometimes. You have to suffer, as I’ve said. When you come through, you find out about people, you find about the team, you find out about the team, you find out about everything, and then you can move forward, and that’s exciting.”
Not sure what we can learn from a League Cup third round tie against what is likely to be a well-rotated team from Pep Guardiola, but there’s more on the line in this game than last week’s dead rubber against Dinamo Zagreb, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it was yet another full-strength side from Potter.
“It’s not about me or my ego or anything like that. It’s about what is right for the team and what is right for the club. We have to go to Manchester City and be competitive because I’m sure they will be. In trying to win the game, we have to be as strong as we can. We’ll do our best and prepare the team, and with the greatest respect to our opponent. They’re a fantastic team. We go to try and win the game.”
Unlike last week, it does seem like a few Academy players will be “involved” at least — whatever that means — with Lewis Hall and Omari Hutchinson (and perhaps Bashir Humphreys) set to travel.
“[Hutchinson] is in the squad. Lewis Hall is in the squad. They’ve impressed, They’ve been training with us for a while now, and we’ve got some good quality young players we just need to nurture and take the right steps with. They will be in the squad and involved.”
Given the depleted and fatigued squad on the back of yet another listless and jaded performance, some fresh faces might spark something — but we’ll have to see what their involvement will actually look like.
Meanwhile, Jorginho’s now joined the casualty list as if we needed another injury.
“Jorginho has a slight problem with his foot and is doubtful for tomorrow. Apart from that, the same group we had.”
“[Kovačić has] an ongoing knee issue that is a little bit of discomfort. It hasn’t stopped him completely. He’s not able to play properly, certainly, we’ve had to be conscious of that during this period. It’s not a massive problem for him. He’ll be fine for the World Cup.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s 100%, but he’s not far off that. It’s just we’ve managed it really well. He’s managed it really well. He’s a top professional. He’s done everything he can in terms of rehab, looking after himself in the gym, and making sure his body is as good as can be. Fantastic professional.
“Yeah, I think it’s been going on from pretty much pre-season, and we’ve tried to make the best of it.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
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