Graham Potter admits it has been the most challenging period of his career at Chelsea and has highlighted the club’s long list of absentees.
Chelsea are eighth in the Premier League table after a poor period of form before the World Cup, but returned from the break with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth this week.
The west Londoners next travel to Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day and ahead of the clash Potter has opened up on the most difficult period of his coaching career.
“It’s been a real tough period, as challenging as it has been in my time as a coach, but we’re at Chelsea and people don’t want to hear those reasons/excuses,” Potter told his pre-match press conference.
“You’ve got to get on with it, and we’ve got to try our best to find the answers.”
Chelsea’s squad has been depleted with several injury problems, including Reece James who suffered a setback from his knee issue this week. N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana are also among those to have long spells sidelined and Potter admits the club’s fitness issues have been problematic.
“We had no Kepa, no Reece, no Wesley, no Ben Chilwell, no N’Golo Kante, no Raheem Sterling. We lost Marc Cucurella overnight with illness. We lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek after a few minutes, we lost Azpi after some more minutes, and that was just the period we were in, and we’ve still got quite a few guys available.
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“That’s the challenge of the multiple competitions, the multiple games in a short space of time with the World Cup coming up. It sounds like I’m making excuses. I’m not, I’m just telling you what I think the situation is and we have to deal with it.
“The break hasn’t been a positive one for us. I could have made lots of excuses if the Bournemouth result hadn’t gone our way because we had four players for the first two weeks and then them dripping back in.
“The break that you think you have to work with the team, it’s not there because you haven’t got the players. But you can’t make those excuses, you’ve just got to win and we did against Bournemouth so that was good.”
Potter confirmed that Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech will return to the squad at Forest, following their involvement in the latter stages of the World Cup. Edouard Mendy is closing in on a return but remains a doubt for the clash at the City Ground.
“Both of those guys will be back,” Potter reported on Kovacic and Ziyech.
“Mendy we’re not sure, we’ll see how he is over the next few days. He has a problem with a bone that he picked up at the World Cup and needed a little bit of time.”