Graham Potter reveals Chelsea job’s toll on his mental health and family life

Manager says fans entitled to be upset after Southampton loss

Graham Potter has revealed that his family life, personality and mental health have suffered because of the criticism he has received since becoming Chelsea’s head coach.

There was a searing honesty to Potter as he opened up on the challenges he has faced since replacing Thomas Tuchel last September. The former Brighton manager faced a furious backlash from the crowd after Chelsea’s demoralising 1-0 defeat at home by Southampton last weekend and he needs a strong response when his team, who are 10th despite spending heavily on signings, visit Tottenham on Sunday.

“Pressure is a two way thing, isn’t it?” Potter said. “Four months ago was I under pressure? I don’t know. But obviously with the results the way they are now you accept it absolutely. It’s fascinating to see the process play itself out. I’ve sat here for four months answering questions about pressure. Do I have time? Have I spoken to the owners?

“The same every week. That’s just part of life at Chelsea. And then you have to accept the fact that when the results are like they are, you have to accept criticism. That should come and that’s fair. The mood in here has always been relatively positive and respectful. But that’s not to say it’s easy at all. Your family life suffers, your mental life suffers, your personality ... it’s hard. But you’re not really bothered, eh? It’s just how it is.”


Chelsea have won two of their past 14 league games and Potter is in danger of losing the fans. “Supporters, rightly so, are upset because we lost at home to Southampton,” he said. “Supporters care and when they are upset, they let their feelings be known and we expect that.

“I’ve had a lot of support from the supporters as well and while everyone would agree we’re not happy with the current situation and position, there are a lot of people who recognise where we’re at, what’s happened, and what the challenges have been for us. The solution is that we have to win matches.

“If you are Chelsea and lose 1-0 at home to Southampton, who are bottom of the league, then you expect fans to voice their criticism. Then it’s about how we analyse the situation we’re in now. Results haven’t been good enough, defeat at home to Southampton isn’t good enough, and you’re entitled to be angry. My response is there are contributing factors to that result as well.”

Potter said that Chelsea’s unsatisfactory preseason tour of the USA had contributed to their problems. The atmosphere under Tuchel was not good during the trip.

“My quote a few weeks ago was that this is probably the toughest job in football, and there are a lot of factors for that,” Potter said. “There was a suboptimal preseason – and speaking to a few of the experienced guys, they thought it was the worst preseason they’ve had for different reasons. That isn’t to blame anybody for the reasons. It’s just that it happened.” – Guardian