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Graham Potter makes Chelsea prediction over chances of qualifying for Champions League knockout stages

Matthew Debono

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Graham Potter makes Chelsea prediction over chances of qualifying for Champions League knockout stages

Graham Potter knows Chelsea face an uphill battle to progress into the Champions League knockout stages, but has faith in his squad to respond and finish in the top two in Group E. 

Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by FC Salzburg in their opening game under the 47-year-old which saw them claim their first European points of the 2022/23 campaign on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge. 

Potter’s side went ahead after 48 minutes through Raheem Sterling, but wastefulness in front of goal and a defensive error allowed the visitors to strike back 15 minutes from time following Noah Okafor’s close range finish. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea dives but fails to keep out the shot of Noah Okafor of Red Bull Salzburg as he scores to make it 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League match. (Alamy)Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea dives but fails to keep out the shot of Noah Okafor of Red Bull Salzburg as he scores to make it 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League match. (Alamy)

Chelsea now sit at the bottom of Group E with just one point after two matches. They now face a double header against AC Milan in their next two group games, two matches that could define and decide their Champions League fate one way or the other. 

The 47-year-old was honest in his reflection after the draw but is adamant he has enough belief in his side that they can turn it around and qualify for the knockout stages.

"We can't lie, it's not the position we want to be in, but we have to respond,” admitted Potter post-match

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“It's as simple as that. It's going to be a tough group, I think, but there is enough quality in the team and squad that we can respond, and we have to look forward to those two games."

Potter was a frustrated figure at full-time at Stamford Bridge, but he couldn’t fault the application and attitude of his side despite dropping more vital points in the Champions League.

The Chelsea head coach added: "We're frustrated with just the one point. I thought the application of the players and the attitude of the players was fantastic.

"I really enjoyed how they went about their work against a good opponent, an opponent that make it difficult for you. They attack quick and defend well.

Graham Potter manager of Chelsea talks with Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge. (Alamy)Graham Potter manager of Chelsea talks with Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge. (Alamy)

"I thought in the first half we got Raheem into some good one-vs-one situations and created some opportunities, but they got some blocks in.

"We scored a good goal, and in the period we didn't control it as well as we had, we concede which is disappointing, but it can happen at this level.

"And then our response was really good. Their keeper has made a couple of saves, and we needed that second goal, but it didn't come. We're disappointed with one point."

Potter added: "We still understand where we are. We understand the demands of this football club, and as I said, I believe in an environment, culture and helping people improve, but we also know we have to win as well and be competitive, so nothing changes in that regard.

"We are the start of a process with a group of staff and a group of players.

"I can only comment on the response we had, which has been really good, and I am looking forward to working, making this team competitive, and one the supporters are proud of."


Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Graham Potter, Chelsea, Red Bull Salzburg, Football, Champions League

Matthew Debono
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