Potter was only brought in in September, and he’s already left.
In a humiliating setback for their ownership group, Chelsea has fired head coach Graham Potter less than seven months after the start of what was intended to be a new age of “partnership, innovation, teamwork, player development, and a dedication to greatness on and off the pitch.” Behdad Eghbali and José E. Feliciano’s statements may go down in history as having always set Potter up for failure; they and Todd Boehly were ready to fire Thomas Tuchel as Potter’s manager, but few coaches could live up to such lofty expectations.
With Chelsea in the bottom half of the Premier League standings and still in the running for the Champions League despite being huge underdogs against Real Madrid in the quarterfinals, Potter leaves following a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, his 11th defeat in 31 matches.
Former Brighton right-back Bruno will serve as Chelsea’s interim manager beginning with Tuesday night’s match against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Boehly and Eghbali expressed their gratitude to Graham for his contributions to Chelsea on behalf of the entire team. “Graham is a coach and a person for whom we have the utmost regard. We are all unhappy in the decision because he has always acted with professionalism and integrity.
“While we concentrate on the remainder of the season, we will all be supporting Bruno and the squad, together with our amazing fans. There are still 10 Premier League games to play, as well as a quarterfinal of the Champions League. To finish the season on a strong note, we will give each of those games everything we have.
There is little little left for Chelsea to concentrate on over the course of the rest of their season other from the quarterfinal, the first leg of which is in 10 days. Bruno’s immediate aim will be avoiding the disgrace of a league season that ends in the bottom half of the table because European qualifying is only theoretically feasible (or by winning the Champions League, which even by the Blues’ standards would be extremely unlikely).
Potter may look back and realize that, in the end, he was correct when he called Chelsea “the hardest job in football,” as he put it on January 11. In fact, things did not get any simpler for him moving forward as Boehly and Eghbali oversaw an extraordinary hiring drive that resulted in Potter’s squad swelling to 32. A fan base that has become accustomed to trophy winning on a regular basis has little patience for a manager who is constantly looking for the ideal lineup for his side, and the assurances of a stop to the hire-and-fire culture at Stamford Bridge appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Julian Nagelsmann is anticipated to be one of the candidates Chelsea takes into consideration as they look for a replacement, but some in the game have suggested that given the turmoil at the club since the change in ownership, the new hierarchy may need some convincing that Stamford Bridge is the best place for them to move. Since taking over in the summer, Boehly, Eghbali, and company have spent more than $500 million on new players, but their hiring of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to play for Tuchel came at a time when they were already considering firing the German coach.
In the end, Potter would remove Aubameyang from Chelsea’s Champions League roster since there was no senior center forward who could take his position. This was just one of numerous tough decisions that were essentially forced upon Potter. In addition, as his tenure dwindled near its conclusion, supporters had little patience for his juggling, which included starting the ailing Mykhailo Mudryk on Saturday while playing Ruben Loftus Cheek at wing-back. One could understand the 47-year-doubts old’s that anyone else could perform better under such tough conditions. He’s about to learn.