After watching his side squander the lead and two points in his first match in charge, Graham Potter reflected on contrasting emotions between the performance and the result.
The Blues led after Raheem Sterling fired us in front early in the second half, the fourth goal scored by the England forward of our past six, but that advantage lasted half an hour before RB Salzburg hit back and secured a 1-1 draw.
It leaves us on just one point from the opening six available in Group E with a double-header against AC Milan to come, games in which his side will have to respond, but Potter was first drawn on the display against the Austrians.
‘We’re frustrated with just the one point,’ he said. ‘I thought the application and attitude of the players was fantastic and I really enjoyed how they went about their work against a good opponent that makes it difficult for you.
‘We got Raheem into some good one-v-one situations, especially in the first half. They got some good blocks in but we scored a good goal. Then in a period of the game where we didn’t really control it as well as we had, we concede which is disappointing but it can happen at this level.
‘Our response was really good. Their keeper made a couple of good saves but in the end we probably needed a second goal and it didn’t come so we’re disappointed with the one point.’
Potter was nonetheless pleased with the effort of his players…
‘They gave everything. We’ve only got one point so we’re disappointed with that but I was very proud with how they acted today. It’s not been easy for them either with a change in coach and all that comes with that but their response has been brilliant.
‘They’ve acted really well - professional, honest and responsible so from an effort perspective it was absolutely 100 per cent there. The quality to get there often was good but we just lacked that little bit to get the second goal.’
The head coach was also asked about his starting shape…
‘It was a back three as far as I was concerned with Reece and Raheem giving us the width. Salzburg are very strong in the middle with a 4-3-1-2 and it’s not easy to play through the middle of the pitch so we wanted to get some dangerous width. Raheem and Reece were that, more full-backs in the lateral positions and then midfield players.
‘We got Raheem into some good situations and Reece as well down that side, but Salzburg defended well. They blocked and their keeper made some good saves. We can improve as well but from how the boys approached the game I’m really happy.’
Potter was asked to expand on that balance between attack and defence…
‘Whatever you do, there’s always a plus and a minus. We’re at home, we wanted to be on the front foot and get some attacking ideas in those wide positions. Raheem is really good at attacking a back-line and scored a fantastic goal, I thought he was really good in the game. Reece balances it off a bit so we can still defend in a four if we need to so that was the thinking.’
Finally, Potter gave his assessment of our standing in the group after two matches…
‘We can’t lie, it’s not the position we want to be in but we have to respond. It’s going to be a tough group but there’s enough quality in the team and the squad that we can respond and we have to look forward to those games.’