Graham Potter has been speaking ahead of his first Premier League match as Chelsea head coach against Crystal Palace, discussing the frantic schedule we will face between now and the winter World Cup, as well as explaining why he doesn’t believe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to prove a point after returning to English football.

A combination of postponed matches and last week’s international break means that despite having joined the Blues on 8 September, tomorrow’s trip across London to face Crystal Palace will be Potter’s first Premier League match with the club, following the 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.

However, in a quirk of the fixture schedule and the unique situation ahead of the first-ever winter World Cup in 2022, after that quiet spell the games will be coming thick and fast between now and mid-November, when club football goes on pause for the international tournament in Qatar.

Potter sees both positives and negatives to that situation, though, as it will give him a great chance to see all his new players in action and put his plans for the team into practice, but also restricts his available time working with the squad on the training pitch at Cobham.

‘It’s just part of the job, it’s part of the challenge,’ explained Potter. ‘It’s what we have to deal with and what we have to work with. We have to be smart about how we work, smart about how we use our time.

‘We’ve got a lot of games to come, it’s well documented the amount of games we have, which is great, we can see all the players, there’ll be lots of competition. Everyone’s ready and looking forward to playing. It’s never easy picking a team because you’ve always got good players and good options but we can deal with that.

‘We’ve got six weeks, 13 matches, and quickly. It’s about managing the players, making sure we use them in the right way, winning football matches in the toughest league in the world with the Champions League there as well. So that’s the challenge in the short term that I’m thinking about.

‘From my perspective I see it as a positive. I think it’s a chance for us to play, we haven’t played for a while. We’ve got a good group, a big group who are all itching to play. There’s good competition in the squad, so bring it on!’

Potter also gave his verdict on our opponents Crystal Palace, being no stranger to facing the atmosphere at Selhurst Park due to their fierce rivalry with his former club Brighton, admitting he is impressed with the way their manager Patrick Vieira has built on the work of previous boss Roy Hodgson.

‘I love the atmosphere there, it’s a proper football stadium and the supporters get behind the team and make it difficult for the away side, whoever it is. So we’re looking forward to that challenge, but the boys are ready, the boys are itching to play, and we can’t wait.

‘Patrick’s done a fantastic job. I think he built on the foundations that Roy laid in terms of the defensive structure, added some really good attacking players and not just in attacking positions. I think the centre-backs have made a difference for them, in terms of defending and how they build their attacks. It’s always difficult to play against Patrick’s teams, they’re well organised with a good spirit. I think he’s done a really good job there.’

The Chelsea head coach also shared his early impressions of working with summer signing Aubameyang, dismissing suggestions the striker needs to prove himself all over again after returning for a second spell in the Premier League following his time with Barcelona.

‘I’m looking forward to working with him, I’ve enjoyed working with him in the brief time we’ve been together,’ added Potter. ‘I can see he’s a good guy, focused, wants to do well, wants to play, wants to score. So I’m really enjoying it.

‘He’s got nothing to prove to me or anything negative in that regard. His career is his career, I have huge respect for that. My job now is to help him enjoy his football and be a part of what we’re trying to do here. He’s acted as a top professional, a top person, so I’m really looking forward to working with him.’