·17 September 2022
·17 September 2022
Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel after the German was controversially sacked last week and he took charge of his first game on Wednesday night.
Chelsea welcomed Red Bull Salzburg to west London for their second clash of the Champions League group stages in midweek.
Tuchel was sacked less than 24 hours after their opening defeat to Dinamo Zagreb so there was already pressure on Potter to pick up all three points.
When Raheem Sterling fired the Blues into the lead in the second half, they appeared to be on their way to that goal.
However, Salzburg continued to push and in the 75th minute, found their equaliser via Noah Okafur, condemning Potter to a winless debut display.
Joe Cole and Peter Crouch praised the move to play Sterling as a wide winger while there were early signs of a strong partnership with Marc Cucurella.
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Phillips says that he saw enough in the opening game to be encouraged by the new Chelsea boss.
The journalist says that the changes to Sterling’s role as well as in midfield were particularly heartening.
Phillips told GIVEMESPORT: “The first thing I noticed, they were a lot more like wingers rather than wingbacks, which is very different to how Tuchel set up his wing-backs, for a more defensive-minded approach.
“You had Raheem Sterling playing on the left, and was pretty much more like a left winger, or left forward than a wing-back. So that was the first thing I noticed.
“In midfield, as well, he played a three in midfield rather than a two, which is what Tuchel has been using, and they were very flat in terms of a straight line. It created a bit more width in midfield and Kovacic and Mason Mount really played as left and right midfielders and this allowed us to cover the wide centre-backs and in turn, allowed the wing-backs to have a lot more freedom going forward. I think that’s two really good changes straightaway that I noticed.”
It is too early to say but fans should be encouraged that the players were so quick to buy into his new approach.
Changing Sterling’s role is a big call but it is one that clearly worked on the night and it will be interesting to see how it develops moving forward.
Potter appears to be an appointment for the long-term at Stamford Bridge, so needs to be given time, but the early signs were promising.
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