Graham Potter says the current break between fixtures provides him and his players the chance to spend some quality time together away from the pitch to forge stronger relationships ahead of the final four months of the season.
The frantic schedule since Potter’s arrival, coupled with the World Cup where so many of our players were in action, has meant there has been no time for socialising away from the hustle and bustle of training and matchday.
Potter has revealed he and his coaching staff have identified this period, almost a fortnight between games against Liverpool and Fulham, as the right one to bring the group together.
‘There will be an element of team bonding,’ the head coach said.
‘We need to try to bring the group together. There are a few new faces, we’ve got a bit of window now. It’s not just about the grass, it’s about how you interact as a team and as a group. There are some things we can do, and we will use the two weeks to try to do that as best as we can.
‘We have a window to do it, and with a lot of players here, we need to build some togetherness, some understanding, and we have to be creative with how we do it.’
During his time as a head coach in Sweden, Potter’s innovative and unusual team-bonding activities grabbed headlines at home and abroad. His players wrote books, staged art exhibitions, performed plays and even put on a production of Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky’s legendary ballet.
However, Potter will not be asking the same of his Chelsea players. He explained why.
‘I always think, whatever you do, if you pick up something that was successful over there and without thought transfer it to a different context, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be successful. You have to be quite careful with that.
‘It would be a mistake to try and replicate the things we did in Ostersund here. That was a unique period of my life and my career. The overall idea, the foundation of the idea, you can do here, but in a different way. There’s going to be no Swan Lake here, that’s for sure.
‘The bits around trying to build trust and relationships in a team, develop empathy and self-awareness in a team, you can still do without having to do art or a dance project.
‘I wouldn’t rule anything out, but you have to be mindful of the environment and the context.’