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Chelsea hire Graham Potter as the club’s new manager

Graham Potter during an FA Cup match between West Bromwich Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England on 8 January.Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Chelsea’s new US owners took a gamble with the first managerial appointment of their tenure, hiring Premier League rivals Brighton’s Graham Potter on Thursday, despite his lack of coaching experience at the highest level. soccer.

Potter, 47, has agreed to a five-year deal to replace Thomas Tuchel, who was let go on Wednesday after an apparent breakdown in his relationship with the recently settled Chelsea ownership team led by the Los Dodgers co-owner Angeles, Todd Boehly.

While Tuchel won the Champions League with Chelsea last year and previously ran a dressing room of footballing superstars – like Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – at Paris Saint-Germain, Potter has a more obscure coaching past and has never only won one trophy, the Swedish Cup. in 2017.

It came during a seven-year stint at distant Swedish club Ostersund (2011-18), which he led from the country’s fourth tier to the First Division and then to the Europa League for the First time.

Since then he has coached Swansea for a season in English football’s second tier, guiding the side to the FA Cup quarter-finals, before taking over at Brighton in 2019. Brighton currently sit fourth in the Premier League, having finished last season in ninth – the highest in club history.

Chelsea said Potter would bring “progressive football and innovative coaching” to the club, while Boehly said the new manager “fits our vision”.

“Not only is he hugely talented on the pitch,” Boehly said of Potter, “he has skills and abilities that extend beyond the pitch which will make Chelsea a more successful club.”

Potter, who played mainly for English lower league sides during an undistinguished career from 1992 to 2005 before retiring at the age of 30 and undertaking higher education, is widely admired as the one of the best tacticians in the country and has a spunky and entertaining style. game that won applause if not trophies. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he was a “big fan” of Potter because of how his “players move with freedom and… have the courage to play everywhere”.

And Boehly, the face of Chelsea ownership, has been convinced that Potter is the man who will instill a long-term football philosophy and identity throughout the club at the start of the new era.

The demands Potter will face at Chelsea will stand in stark contrast to those at his previous clubs, however, he is unlikely to be given as much time to cultivate a team as he has had so far in his career.

“He is expected to win every week, to challenge for trophies,” said former Chelsea player and assistant manager Jody Morris. “It’s totally different to be at a club where you’re expected to be in the middle of the table and where you can go a few months without winning a game. You go a few games without winning at Chelsea and it will be totally different.

Potter’s time in Sweden offers interesting insight into why he is hailed as a fine manager and game thinker.

Under Potter, Ostersund, which prides itself on developing its players as people before sportsmen, launched what it called a ‘Culture Academy’ where team members and coaches faced challenges. challenges to their mental process and decision-making under pressure.

After getting promoted for a year, Potter and his players put on a modern dance production at the town theater, to the music of Swan Lake.