Graham Potter’s first Chelsea game as head coach had a dramatic finale and he was delighted his players were rewarded for sticking at it having conceded early at Selhurst Park.
Odsonne Edouard put Palace in front early on but debut Chelsea strikes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, before half-time, and Conor Gallagher, right at the end, sealed a maiden victory for our new manager.
‘On a personal level, it’s nice to get the first win under the belt,’ acknowledged Potter.
‘I’m really pleased for the players. The pattern away from home has been starting well, conceding and then not getting any points. They could have felt sorry for themselves, but they didn’t.
‘They kept pushing. It was a tight game. We’ve edged it, it could have gone either way but that’s how difficult it is here.’
Gallagher’s first Chelsea goal was tinged with narrative
‘I’m delighted for Conor. It’s a fantastic strike. He has a lot of respect for Crystal Palace as you could see by his reaction, but he’s a Chelsea player now and it’s a great goal for us.
‘I’m delighted for Conor, the team and the substitutes. You want them to have an impact. You want players who are disappointed because they want to play but they did it in a good way. They responded well.’
Aubameyang also opened his Chelsea account
‘An important goal. He’s been working hard to get himself up to Premier League fitness. I’ve been really impressed with him. All forwards will say it’s important to score, and it was an important goal for us.’
Potter switched to 4-2-2-2 having used three central defenders against RB Salzburg
‘We lost Marc, and we felt in this game a back four would be better for us.
‘You need to be careful with change. Things have to be consistent. How we play has to be consistent.
‘At the same time, we have 12 matches in six-and-a-bit weeks. It’s very difficult to keep a consistency in terms of selection. We have to keep open minded, but you need some consistency in terms of what you’re trying to do on the pitch.’
Potter also had words of praise for Ben Chilwell and, first, Kepa
‘He made a couple of big saves. His distribution in terms of his decision-making was really strong. You need players to step up and perform and Kepa did that. I’m really happy for him.
‘It’s Ben’s first 90 minutes in the Premier League [since his injury]. He had 90 minutes behind closed doors before he went off for the international break.
‘It’s not an easy place to play because they have two wingers up against him at different times. Zaha and Ayew are hard to control.
‘He’s come back from a long injury but he has a fantastic attitude and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.’
Potter was asked about the Thiago Silva handball that ended with a yellow card only
‘It was probably a 50/50 one that we have come up on the right side of. The fact it was a long way from the goal helped us a little bit, and maybe recovering defenders, but I can understand of frustration.’