The post announcing Graham Potter’s sacking received unexpected admiration from some players, creating a sense of confusion among Chelsea supporters. While it was undoubtedly well-deserved and long overdue, the response from Potter’s former team members suggests that there was an underlying tension between him and certain players. Had we the means to hear directly from the locker room, it seems likely that most would share this sentiment – though they would be wise to keep it to themselves. Indeed, the evidence can be found on the social media profiles of a few players.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Zakaria, in particular, felt undervalued under Potter’s leadership. Both former Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach players were audacious enough to give a “like” to Chelsea’s Instagram post announcing the coach’s departure. Defender Ben Chilwell even took to Instagram to thank Potter directly, posting a photo hugging him and the message “Thank you gaffer,” accompanied by a blue heart emoji. Cucurella, who knew Potter from their time together at Brighton, also expressed gratitude and wished him luck for the future.
Others, like the injured Armando Broja and new arrival Noni Madueke, similarly shared their appreciation, though only Chilwell and Cucurella were regular starters. The rest remained silent. Meanwhile, Potter has rejected an offer from Leicester City to take over as manager and has informed Chelsea’s owners that he intends to take a break from football until June, during which time he will receive a handsome compensation package of £13 million. As Chelsea begins its search for a new boss, names like Zinedine Zidane, Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique, and Mauricio Pochettino are being bandied about. In the meantime, Potter’s former assistant Bruno Saltor will take charge, making his managerial debut against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge tonight.