Graham Potter saw the reasons Thomas Tuchel was fired in action when Chelsea’s Champions League opener against Red Bull Salzburg ended in a 1-1 draw.
Prior to a vital doubleheader against AC Milan next month, Potter has little time to settle in as the Blues have just one point from their first two games in Group E.
Although Chelsea’s match against Liverpool this weekend was postponed owing to policing plans surrounding Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London, Potter does have 16 days before Chelsea play again to spread his ideas.
AFP Sport examines the problems at Stamford Bridge for which Potter needs to provide solutions.
Score more goals
Goals were not easy to come by even during the peak of the Tuchel era, when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021.
The Blues have only scored nine goals in their first eight games of the season.
With four of them, including the opening goal of Potter’s administration, Raheem Sterling has rapidly lived up to his £50 million ($58 million) transfer from Manchester City.
But despite the shock that Pierre Emerick-reunion Aubameyang’s with Tuchel only lasted one game, Chelsea needs him to follow suit.
In his place on Wednesday, Armando Broja, who excelled while on loan at Southampton last season, came on just after the hour mark.
However, despite receiving a new six-year contract earlier this month, Broja is yet to net for Chelsea at the senior level.
Chelsea supporters are somewhat concerned, though, because Potter’s stint at Brighton was frequently riddled with outstanding displays that lacked a decisive edge in front of goal.
Settle on right defence
The difference between Tuchel’s early success and difficult last few months was Chelsea’s declining defensive record.
The club’s new owners cannot be accused of not throwing money at the problem with £165 million spent on defenders during the transfer window.
But Potter left over £100 million worth of centre-backs on the bench against Salzburg as Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly were dropped in favour of a centre-back pairing with a combined age of 70 in Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Both were at fault for Salzburg’s late equaliser and Potter must settle on a system as well as the personnel.
Tuchel used a back three and the squad seems built for that formation with an abundance of centre-back and wing-back options.
Potter, though, started with a back four on his first night in charge, which also limited the threat of Reece James and Marc Cucurella from full-back.
Use Kante wisely
Arguably the biggest factor in Chelsea’s decline under Tuchel was N’Golo Kante’s ongoing fitness problems.
The French midfielder won man of the match in both Champions League semifinals and the final in 2021 against Real Madrid and Manchester City, providing the perfect screen that an exceptional defensive record was built on.