During the winter break, Graham Potter combined a family holiday to California with a chance to sit down with the club’s owners, leaving him even more confident for Chelsea's future now than when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge in September.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s first competitive fixture for more than six weeks, due to the mid-season break for this year’s World Cup, Graham Potter shared details of how he managed to find time to enjoy some winter sun and relax with his family, between the squad’s warm-weather training camp and planning for the resumption of the Premier League with our home game against Bournemouth on 27 December.
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‘We had a nice week away in Abu Dhabi and I had some time with my family,’ said our head coach. ‘We went to California, that was nice. I went from LA up to San Francisco with my wife, the first time without the kids, so that was pleasant! That’s why I seem so relaxed!’
However, in the middle of his first season at Chelsea, even during that holiday football never seemed to be far from Potter’s mind and he took the opportunity to meet the club’s co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali while he was visiting America.
‘When I was over in California I met up with Behdad, which was good. I had a good chat with him, I get fantastic support,’ he explained. ‘I’m really looking forward to the weeks and the months and the years ahead.
‘We understand where we are at, at the moment. We understand the challenges that we have, but that’s where we are in the journey at the moment.
‘I’m even more confident now, even more aware of the support I have now, than I was three months ago when I was talking to them. That tells you something and I think it’s a credit to them, their support, how they’ve communicated with me. It’s been fantastic.
‘We know the pressure, the demands of this football club, of course, but we also know there are enough people who can put it into perspective and enough people who can see the situation, see where we’re at, to be able to say “this is where we are, how can we improve, how can we move forward?”.’
Potter also admitted that the back-to-back narrow defeats to Arsenal and Newcastle United in the Premier League immediately before this year’s winter break have weighed on his mind since that last game at St James’ Park on 12 November, but his attention soon turned to the matches ahead and plans for the rest of the season.
‘I would rather have gone on holiday, up and down California, with a couple of wins, because I would probably have been better company for my poor wife! Thankfully she’s been with me long enough to know that’s how it is.
‘It wasn’t to be, so you have to reflect. You have to use that pain, the frustration, the disappointment of the last few weeks to see how we can move forward. Then it’s about how you can start the process of integrating all the players back and taking the learning of that time and saying “we need to show some direction here to go forward”.
‘We had a really good positive two or three weeks with the players. It feels like there’s a good spirit, a real good connection around the building. So everything’s gone well in that regard, but clearly the proof is in the pudding, we understand we have to perform well and we have to try to win the game.’