It may not be the London derby Graham Potter was expecting to begin his Chelsea Premier League managerial career with, but today’s trip to Crystal Palace has a little extra significance for him.
Potter was appointed on 8 September, two days prior to our scheduled meeting with near neighbours Fulham. However, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, that game was postponed, as was the following weekend’s clash against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Potter did take to the sidelines for what would prove a frustrating draw at home to RB Salzburg in the Champions League, but this afternoon will be his first taste of Premier League football as a Chelsea manager. It will not, of course, be his first taste of Premier League football following three-and-a-bit successful seasons at Brighton, Palace’s big rivals.
‘It’s always a tough game there,’ recognised Potter.
‘The Brighton Palace connection is an interesting one but it’s a London derby so I imagine it will be a fantastic atmosphere. It always is there. It’s always a tough place to go. I think Patrick has done a fantastic job, with how the team plays. They have lots of attacking players so we need to be ready for that.
‘After the international break both teams have had a couple of days to prepare. We need to attack as well as we did [against Salzburg] and then the little things that we didn’t do so well in the games we have to try to get better at.’
Potter is referring to games in the plural because he did oversee a behind closed doors friendly against Brighton on the weekend we had been due to host Liverpool.
‘It was important for us to use the players that didn’t play against Salzburg to gather some more information,’ he noted.
‘Then it was the international break with just a few players left with us, so it’s been a case of a little bit of individual work, getting to know the staff around the place and then spending a bit more time together as a group.
‘It has been a bit of a tricky time but then again, nothing you can do about it and now we can’t wait to get the games underway again.’