Graham Potter, the manager of Chelsea, has revealed why he did not watch Kai Havertz’s second penalty against Borussia Dortmund. The Blues managed to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday night, thanks to a brilliant 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg. Raheem Sterling levelled the tie before Havertz was given the opportunity to put Chelsea in front from the penalty spot following a controversial handball decision. However, more controversy followed as the German forward hit the post with his first spot-kick, but Dortmund were punished for encroachment.
As Havertz stepped up for the second time, Potter refused to watch and decided to rely on the crowd’s reaction. With the Blues currently tenth in the Premier League, some suggested Potter’s future depended on progressing to the next stage and keeping the club’s season alive. “After the first one, I stood up and watched it and I thought, ‘No – I’ll sit down and listen to the crowd now,” Potter told BT Sport after the game. “Thankfully, the noise was there.”
Potter also revealed that Havertz could have handed responsibility over to Reece James for the second attempt. Instead, the striker produced a carbon copy of his first penalty, albeit a metre inside the post this time. “It was him or Reece [James]. Sometimes they’ve got to feel it on the pitch,” Potter explained. “We’ve got confidence in Kai. It happens that you miss one. Even though I wasn’t watching, I was delighted when I heard the roar. Taking penalties is not for me, so I am in awe of anybody who can. Taking it in that situation was fantastic.”
The victory over Dortmund was a crucial one for Chelsea, who have struggled in the Premier League this season. They are currently sitting in tenth place and are unlikely to qualify for next season’s Champions League through their league position. Therefore, winning the competition this year is their best chance of securing a place in Europe’s elite club competition next season.
Chelsea’s performance against Dortmund was impressive, with their defence holding firm against a talented attacking side. The Blues’ backline has been criticised this season for their lack of solidity, but they were excellent on Tuesday night. Antonio Rudiger was particularly impressive, making several crucial interceptions and tackles to keep Dortmund at bay.
In midfield, N’Golo Kante was once again outstanding. The Frenchman has been in superb form this season and was instrumental in Chelsea’s victory over Dortmund. His energy and tenacity in midfield helped to disrupt Dortmund’s rhythm and allowed Chelsea to dominate possession.
Up front, Havertz was the hero of the night, scoring both goals to send Chelsea through to the quarter-finals. The German has struggled to find his best form since joining Chelsea last summer but showed his quality against Dortmund. His movement and finishing were excellent, and he will be hoping to build on this performance in the coming weeks.
Overall, it was an excellent night for Chelsea and Graham Potter. The Blues will now be hoping to carry this momentum into their upcoming Premier League fixtures as they look to climb up the table and secure a top-four finish. With players like Kante and Havertz in top form, they will fancy their chances of achieving their goals this season.