Metro caught up with former Chelsea player Pat Nevin to discus the Blues’ woes ahead of tonight’s derby at Fulham.
Here, the former Scottish international discusses current Chelsea owner Graham Potter’s future at the club, the recent signing of Joao Felix and more.
Will boss Graham Potter be fearing the sack after six defeats in nine for Chelsea?
That is the normal narrative but I don’t know if that will work with the new owners – it may. But in normal times, that’s what happens at a number of clubs. I don’t know if that’s the case at Chelsea any more. It’s easy to say, ‘You’re not winning games’, but the club has had a change of ownership, there’s lots to learn, there has been a massive transition. When Todd Boehly bought the club, he said their intention was to let it grow and we all thought, ‘Yeah, right’, but so far, so good. Nobody would pretend it’s good at the moment but I’ve no idea if they would act as the previous owner would have done. The proof will be in the pudding over time. Qualifying for the Champions League is now a long shot and that’s Potter’s problem.
What is the underlying issue Potter faces?
The injuries don’t help him but the problems run deeper than that. My heart broke when Antonio Rudiger left in the summer because he is such a brilliant defender, one of the best you’ll get. One of the best on the planet. To lose him was gigantic. That said, defence is not the problem for Graham Potter, it’s the creation of goals and chances.
Fans sang the name of former owner Roman Abramovich and ex-manager Thomas Tuchel at Man City. Should they also give Potter time?
I’ve been a football club chief executive with a new manager and new owner, I know what it’s like inside – it can be mayhem. I know fans are losing faith with Graham but I’d give him a chance when he has all his players back. Look at the backline in Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Manchester City with no Thiago Silva, no Reece James, no Ben Chilwell. I wouldn’t take anything from that.
The Blues have just signed forward Joao Felix. Is he the answer, or at least part of it?
The Premier League is unbelievably difficult and it’s damn hard to be creative. Felix is very highly rated but don’t judge him on his first few matches. We’ll learn a lot about the team after Crystal Palace on Sunday but it will be intriguing to see who comes in during the remainder of the transfer window and how much they look like Graham Potter players.
Do you expect Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to leave this month?
He is not exactly what Graham Potter wants or needs. That’s not his style. Short-term I thought he might get ten goals. I’m not massively surprised it hasn’t worked out but could you use him for the rest of the season as an impact player? Possibly, if his attitude’s perfect.
What did you make of former defender Frank Leboeuf’s comments that the City performance was ‘shameful’ and ‘disrespectful’?
If everybody was fit and at it, I’d be more concerned. I watched Newcastle beat Leicester on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup and the vivacity of that group and willingness to work is what you need – and I think that’s what Leboeuf was saying. Teams will be fearless towards Chelsea now and they have to meet that challenge head-on. If they can’t raise their intensity, they will finish mid-table.
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