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News from London: Chelsea’s new manager Graham Potter has plenty of work to do

Head Coach Graham Potter of Chelsea with assistants Bjorn Hamberg and Billy Reid (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Graham Potter’s Chelsea reign started with a one-all draw against FC Red Bull Salzburg at Stamford Bridge in the UEFA Champions League. The result on Wednesday meant his side remains last in their group at least until next matchday. Next up for them is the doubleheader against the Italian Champions AC Milan.

As things stand, it does not look ideal for the Blue‘s ambitions to qualify for the round of 16. They desperately need to get at least four points from their fixtures against the Rossoneri. Any other result would put even their Europa League qualifying in jeopardy.

Potter only had less than a week to prepare his team for the match. But the tie would have helped him understand the issues in his squad. All the negative aspects fans have seen from the team since the start of the year were visible.

The start of the match looked promising. There were movements all over the pitch. But soon the tempo was back to its normal pedestrian way. Chelsea had most of the possession, but it was the familiar side and back passes.

The goal they conceded was due to poor marking from Cesar Azpilicueta. Yet another mistake at the back. Starting the Spaniard at center back ahead of Wesley Fofana and Khalidou Koluibaly, two big-money signings who are center backs by trade, was a mistake.

The position of Raheem Sterling was an intriguing choice. He played in an inverted wingback role. But the decision was vindicated when the English winger scored the first goal soon after the second-half restart. But a player like Sterling should be playing up top where he can be more effective.

By the time the Austrian side scored, it was too late by Chelsea’s current standards to hit back. The introduction of Hakim Ziyech made sure Reece James runs through the right wing was compromised. The Moroccan occupied the right wing spot with terrible crossings and take-ons to the delight of traveling Salzburg fans.

CFC‘s next match on October 1 is away to Crystal Palace. As a result, Potter will have around 15 days to work with the team. The international friendlies in between those days won’t be ideal. But it will allow him time to assess remaining at Cobham while working on other aspects of the game.