Chelsea are determined to give Graham Potter time to improve the club’s fortunes but are wary of growing fan unrest over the team’s results, sources have told ESPN.
The 47-year-old replaced Thomas Tuchel as head coach in September but has won just five of his 17 Premier League games despite the club spending almost £600 million since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed their takeover last summer.
Sources have told ESPN that Boehly and Clearlake chief Behdad Eghbali remain supportive of Potter and believe he can still make a success of his time at Stamford Bridge in the long term.
However, Potter is under mounting pressure from the club’s supporters. His team was booed off after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to managerless Southampton with many fans calling for the former Brighton boss to be sacked.
An escalation in that hostility would test the resolve of Boehly and Eghbali’s desire to persevere with Potter during a tricky run of games starting with Sunday’s trip to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea then face Leeds United at home — a fixture they won with a last-minute penalty last season — before the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund on March 7, when they will seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
Sources told ESPN there is a recognition within the Chelsea hierarchy that Potter is overseeing a difficult transitional period with a bloated squad and limited time to implement his methods having been appointed mid-season shortly before a winter World Cup.
However, while the ownership remain sympathetic, Chelsea supporters have grown increasingly restless. Some have chanted Tuchel’s name at recent away matches.
Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and 23 adrift of leaders Arsenal.
Winning the Champions League — as they did in 2012 and 2021 — appears to be Chelsea’s best chance of qualifying for next season’s competition and an early exit from Europe’s premier club competition would be another significant blow Potter has to ride out.
Before that, Sunday’s trip to Spurs is a more immediate test of the bond between manager and board as Chelsea seek only their second win of 2023.