Chelsea: How Graham Potter scored the Blues after RB Salzburg draw in their opener

The end result of Graham Potter’s first game in charge of Chelsea was a frustrating 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg, but what quickly became clear was that he wasted little time starting to put his mark on his new team.

Less than a week into work and some of Potter’s adjustments were clear, defensive changes to Raheem Sterling’s game in an unfamiliar winger position and a positive outlook on the sidelines.

Here, sports mail takes a look at some of the differences at Chelsea during Potter’s early days.

Graham Potter’s first game in charge of Chelsea was a frustrating 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg, but it’s clear he wasted little time to start scoring for his new team.

Raheem Sterling scored his fourth in five games but the Austrian side caught up with the Blues

Raheem Sterling scored his fourth in five games but the Austrian side caught up with the Blues

Training changes

Graham Potter was known at Brighton for, among other things, his tactical versatility and that carried over into his Chelsea debut.

There were a variety of ways his selection could have lined up to start, but it turned out to be a back three, of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marc Cucurella, full-backs mostly in their careers, either side of Thiago Silva.

Further forward there was an element of flexibility with Jorginho, the deepest midfielder, stepping back to help, Reece James, while keeping an eye on his direct opponent, sometimes did the same for the backline looks like a four.

Sometimes Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were a front pair, at other times the former played against the latter.

And as the game progressed, Chelsea’s setup was adapted accordingly as Potter made changes until it was understandable that it was time to cook as Chelsea chased a winner in the final stages.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (above) played in a fluid front two with compatriot Kai Havertz

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (above) played in a fluid front two with compatriot Kai Havertz

defensive form

The way they were positioned stood out, in possession regularly forming a triangle with Silva the deepest point and the last man with Azpilicueta and Cucurella in front on either side of him and ready to defend on the front foot.

They played their part in Chelsea’s attempts to push and pin RB Salzburg in their own territory. There were times when a false move could have left them, and Silva in particular, exposed, but for most of the game they stayed out of trouble.

And the fact that Silva did so well made his slip for Salzburg’s 75th-minute equalizer all the more frustrating as he had coolly and classily handled far more delicate situations earlier in the game.

Defender Thiago Silva (left) generally looked solid as a sweeper but was mistaken for the Salzburg goal

Defender Thiago Silva (left) generally looked solid as a sweeper but was mistaken for the Salzburg goal

Swiss youngster Noah Okafor (right) scored the equalizer 15 minutes from time on Wednesday

Swiss youngster Noah Okafor (right) scored the equalizer 15 minutes from time on Wednesday

Fullback Raheem Sterling

Sterling’s stance would raise eyebrows if used as such in the traditional sense, being asked to shuttle up and down the flank.

But in Potter’s plan it was high and wide, with Cucurella crossing alertly to minimize his defensive responsibilities so the England star could focus on what he does best.

The way Sterling was used allowed him to take the ball several times and hit his defender, especially in the first half. Often, by the time he reached the danger zone, he had momentum behind him.

Sterling scored Chelsea’s goal – his fourth in his last five games – and was involved in a number of other dangerous situations, although many weren’t maxed out.

Having been used in a variety of roles so far, this one suited him well and he said, “This is the one I enjoy.”

Raheem Sterling insisted that he

Raheem Sterling insisted he ‘enjoyed’ lining up in an unfamiliar left-back position

Gameplay style

Ahead of his final game in charge last week, Thomas Tuchel explained to BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand how his teams ‘in the perfect scenario’ would be aggressive and direct.

He admitted they didn’t have enough in the last season under him, having evolved into a ‘more dominant team’, but Chelsea were much closer to what Tuchel wanted under Potter.

Fewer pedestrians, less lateral overtaking, more proactive, speed, intensity and forward overtaking. “We want a good presence on the pitch, take the ball, attack as much as possible and when we lose the ball, get it back as soon as possible,” explained goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

“Try to create chances, get the fans involved in the atmosphere at the stadium and we’ll go ahead because it’s just two or three training sessions with the gentleman (manager). We’ve changed a few things in the line-up and structure.

“So we have to adapt to that. But we have seen positive things. New manager, new ideas so this is just the beginning.’ Mason Mount, who had been overpowered this season, was among those who took advantage.

He capped an all-action display with his first assist of the season. Problems remain with their conversion of possession and attempts into goals.

Midfielder Mason Mount (right) was one of those who benefited from the new style of play

Midfielder Mason Mount (right) was one of those who benefited from the new style of play

Meanwhile, in Tuchel’s defence, the absence of N’Golo Kante has deprived him of a key player capable of injecting urgency into Chelsea’s game but, on his first night at least, Potter found a way to have that without the influential Frenchman.

Aubameyang said: “His ideas are very clear, so I think it’s going to be easy.” It takes time to adjust to each other, but I think it will be fine.

bold calls

After their big-money arrivals, centre-backs Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana were surprise omissions from the starting XI, but price tags and status – two of the new owners’ recent purchases – meant little to Potter who didn’t. was not afraid to show that he will do. its own big decisions regardless of the larger vision or expectations.

He skillfully developed Brighton by doing the same. Potter was also happy to make full use of all five submarines. In the case of Koulibaly and Fofana, it’s just one game.

Chelsea have nine in October, ending with Potter returning to the Amex, so plenty of opportunities for them to get games and the new head coach to watch his whole squad and let others watch from the sidelines.

Summer signings Wesley Fofana (left) and Kalidou Koulibaly (centre) were left on the bench

Summer signings Wesley Fofana (left) and Kalidou Koulibaly (centre) were left on the bench

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (pictured) highlighted Potter's commitment to positivity

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (pictured) highlighted Potter’s commitment to positivity

Potter’s Positivity

The Stamford Bridge press box is a prime viewing spot for some managers watching and Potter behaves very differently to Tuchel. It was not uncommon to see and hear Tuchel’s annoyance when his players or officials made decisions he didn’t like or his emotions when they scored.

Potter had a much calmer, low-key, measured figure on the sidelines. It’s his personality. He likes to give his players the confidence to try things and if they don’t come off he will talk to them about situations rather than criticize them.

This side of him was evident in the amount of encouragement and applause he gave his players against Salzburg.

Aubameyang said: “He [Potter] is a really positive person and a great character. We will try to learn from him and win as soon as possible.’

Kepa added: “He’s very positive in his spirit. He tries to give us positivity.

About Timothy Ball

Check Also

Film about Abe murder suspect to be shown on day of state funeral

A film featuring a protagonist based on Tetsuya Yamagami, the suspect in the murder of …