Graham Potter must follow Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel blueprint to avoid Chelsea discontent


As Frank Lampard approached the travelling Chelsea supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – all of whom had spent much of the previous 90 minutes singing his name – pure emotion took over. At that moment, Lampard wasn’t the head coach. He was simply another jubilant fan.

It’s why the club legend repeatedly roared toward those in the away section and thumped the badge on his chest. This wasn’t just a win. It was a win over Tottenham Hotspur . A win over Chelsea’s bitter London rival. It meant more – and Lampard understood that like few others to have taken their place in the dugout.

“It means a lot to me but it’s what it means to this club, the players, the fans,” Lampard told Sky Sports after the 2-0 victory “The fans have come here having watched us lose a few games – have a dip – but they’ve stuck with us. The fans know we’re young, that we’re doing a certain thing, and that they’re happy with the academy, but we needed to show them what we could do.

“My thing before the game was can we fight? Can we fight and go and beat a big team? It feels like the best [performance of my tenure] because it’s a tough game against our major, major rival. I don’t want to get carried away but it shows the players what they can do when they are brave, when they fight, and when they are strong.”

That victory on a cold December night remains the enduring memory of Lampard’s tenure; a rare instance of Chelsea and its supporters being in complete alignment. That is certainly not the case ahead of this weekend’s trip to north London. The mood is very different.

It is Graham Potter who will lead Chelsea to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and there is significant pressure on the 47- year-old given a dismal run of results and performances in recent weeks.

The majority of supporters want Potter out but co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, for now at least, remain behind the man they appointed in September. Their backing will be tested further if Chelsea lose to Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

It’s not something that happens often – only seven times since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 – but the frustration and anger are not dampened when Spurs are able to claim a rare three points. It may not be his natural inclination but Potter must dial into this emotion.

Another meek showing, both on the pitch and on the touchline, will not be tolerated by supporters, especially against Tottenham. The fight Lampard spoke of in 2019 needs to be shown.

Thomas Tuchel showcased that when Tottenham visited Stamford Bridge in August; the German became embroiled in a post-match spat with Antonio Conte that resulted in both men being fined and Tuchel having to serve a touchline ban. Potter, at least publicly, is unlikely to display such hostility.

It should be a different story in the changing room. Sources have told that Potter was surprisingly reserved when addressing his players at half time and full time of last weekend’s defeat to Southampton.

It was acknowledged under Tuchel the squad would have been given a thorough dressing-down. That isn’t Potter’s style, given he has gone from coaching in the ninth tier of English football to the Premier League, few can argue it hasn’t proved successful.

But as he battles to get Chelsea’s campaign back on track, and attempts to win back supporters, a tweak to his usual measured approach is required.

Chelsea supporters will never love Potter like they love Lampard; that is simply an impossible task. And it’s unlikely he will ever be adored in the same fashion as Tuchel, who won the Champions League and guided the club through its most challenging months in two decades.

Yet overcome Tottenham on Sunday and Potter will have taken an important step toward building an emotional bond with the Chelsea faithful. Fail to do so and his position will be viewed as untenable by the majority of supporters within the fanbase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button