Under-fire Chelsea coach Graham Potter is looking to follow the lead of Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta by winning over his critics – starting with Thursday’s short trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham.
Chelsea have embarked on a dire run of one win in eight Premier League games either side of the World Cup, and supporters chanted the name of Potter’s predecessor Thomas Tuchel during Sunday’s FA Cup loss at Manchester City.
Speaking before facing a Fulham side three places and three points above Chelsea in the table, Potter highlighted how other big-name coaches had dealt with similar situations.
“You have to understand (the criticism) is part of the job,” Potter said. “You only have to look at some of my colleagues in a similar position.
“Pep, for example, in his first season, was being criticised quite heavily. I think Mikel Arteta has had a period of criticism.
“(Jurgen) Klopp, in the first few years (at Liverpool) would have had criticism as well. These guys are fantastic.
“You understand football is emotional. When you lose, you feel it; you feel the pain; you feel the suffering; you feel the discomfort.”
Potter’s Fulham counterpart Marco Silva, meanwhile, remains wary of the threat posed by the Blues – who have lost just one of their 30 Premier League games against the Cottagers (W19 D10).
“Even with some injuries – and you know we are not with our full squad as well for the match – they are always Chelsea,” Silva said.
“Two seasons ago they won the Champions League, this season they spent more than £300million, we cannot talk about all these things.
“I think it is clear the high quality they have in their squad, for me there are no doubts about it. It’s more for Potter to decide who will be in the team, and I will do the same with my squad.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Fulham – Andreas Pereira
Fulham will be without top goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic as he serves a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards. The Serbia international is the only Fulham player with more Premier League goal contributions (12) than Pereira (six – two goals, four assists) this term, and the former Manchester United man will shoulder the creative burden here.
Chelsea – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang has been directly involved in five goals in his three Premier League games against Fulham (four goals, one assist), with four of these coming in two games at Craven Cottage. With Chelsea missing the likes of Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling through injury, they need Aubameyang to step up.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Fulham have won just seven of their 74 league games against Chelsea (9.5 per cent). Of the 1,542 fixtures to have been played at least 50 times in English Football League history, Fulham’s win rate against Chelsea is the lowest.
– Chelsea have lost just one of their 30 Premier League games against Fulham (W19 D10) and are unbeaten in their last 20 against them since a 1-0 loss in March 2006.
– Fulham have won 28 points in 18 Premier League matches this season (W8 D4 L6), already equalling their points total from their previous appearance in the competition in 2020-21 (W5 D13 L20). This is the Cottagers’ joint-best points total after 18 Premier League matches, alongside the 2003-04 campaign (also 28).
– No current Premier League side has earned fewer wins or scored fewer goals across their last eight games in the competition than Chelsea (P8 W1 D3 L4, F5 A9). Indeed, this is the first time Chelsea have only had one win across a run of eight Premier League games since October to December 2012, while the Blues last only won once in nine matches in the league from November 2010 to January 2011.
– Fulham boss Marco Silva has won just one of his four Premier League games against Chelsea (D1 L2), though it did come in his only previous home game against them – 2-0 with Everton in March 2019.