Graham Potter’s job will be safe even if Chelsea miss out on Champions League

Graham Potter

Chelsea’s long-term commitment to new head coach Graham Potter means he will not automatically face the sack if his team miss out on the top four in the Premier League and Champions League qualification this season.

While the minimum aim of the club’s new owners is for Chelsea to finish in the top four, it is not considered a deal-breaker in terms of their commitment to Potter.

Potter has been handed one of the biggest contracts in Chelsea’s history after signing a five-year deal worth £60 million (€70m).

The former Brighton head coach is very much seen as a long-term appointment by co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, and the pair have faith that, given time and the right support, he can help achieve their aims.

But an isolated failure to qualify for the Champions League, particularly in his first season, will not mean he is sacked as long as Boehly and Eghbali remain confident he can deliver on their vision.

Previous owner Roman Abramovich would not tolerate Chelsea finishing outside the top four, as managers such as Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas and Luiz Felipe Scolari were sacked when it was clear Champions League qualification would not be secured, and Antonio Conte was dismissed in 2018 after his team finished fifth following a league title success.

Despite sacking Thomas Tuchel within three months of formally completing their takeover of the club, Boehly and Eghbali plan to be more patient with Potter in terms of acting on any disappointments.

An underwhelming start to the season has left Chelsea sixth and it is already evident that the competition for a top-four place is greater with Arsenal and Manchester United having improved. Boehly has tolerated setbacks at his other major sporting interest, the LA Dodgers baseball team, where manager Dave Roberts has been in charge since 2015 and in March signed a new three-year contract that would mean he completes a decade at the helm.

Potter took his first training session with Chelsea’s players yesterday, although his first match in charge was delayed after the Premier League postponed the weekend’s fixtures as a mark of respect to the Queen. Chelsea had been due to face Fulham today.

That means that the first game with Potter in charge will be Wednesday night’s Champions League match against Red Bull Salzburg at Stamford Bridge, which they need to win after losing 1-0 to Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday in Tuchel’s final game in charge.

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