Graham Potter fears training sessions are undermined by bloated squad

EXCLUSIVE: Graham Potter fears Chelsea’s bloated squad is having a negative impact on his training sessions… with the under-fire boss left to coach 31 players after their £323m January splurge

  • Graham Potter is facing increasing pressure after Chelsea’s defeat to Tottenham
  • Potter has been forced to adapt training sessions to keep all players involved
  • Players have been forced to wait or work in small groups until they are required

Graham Potter fears his training sessions at Chelsea are being undermined by having too many players to work with. 

Chelsea currently have a first-team squad of 31 following an extraordinary January transfer window which saw the owners spend £323million on eight new players, with only Jorginho leaving Stamford Bridge, although new signings Andrey Santos and Malo Gusto have not been registered to play this season.

Potter has previously admitted that maintaining squad morale is proving a challenge because ‘most players want to play,’ and after a month of working with the larger group there are now concerns that the bloated numbers are affecting work on the training pitch.

In his previous jobs at Brighton, Swansea and Ostersunds Potter developed a reputation as a very hands-on coach who worked rigorously on patterns of play and team shape in training, but that approach is proving challenging at Chelsea as there are so many players to accommodate. 

Instead of his preferred method of running 11 v 11 training matches Potter has been forced to alter his coaching sessions to keep all the players involved, or leave several hanging around or working in a smaller group elsewhere until they are required.

Graham Potter has been forced to adapt training sessions to keep all players involved

Chelsea’s first-team squad has swelled to 31 players following eight signings in January

Pressure has grown on Potter following Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday

As a result Potter has struggled to maintain continuity during training sessions, never mind during matches. The manager made six changes to the side beaten at Tottenham on Sunday as Chelsea slumped to a third successive defeat.

Potter has been able to accommodate all Chelsea’s new players in his 25-man Premier League squad, as those aged 22 or under are registered separately, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana were omitted from their Champions League squad.

‘There are challenges when you’ve got that many players,’ Potter said earlier this month. ‘There are challenges in terms of what role they play because most players want to play. They want to play, be on the pitch and help the team. When they are not, it is a challenge and it is a challenge for lots of reasons at this football club.

‘When you go through a period of transition and the steps we’ve gone through then there are going to be periods when it is going to be tougher than you ideally want – it’s not optimal. I am not complaining about it and I have to do my best to support and manage the club. Step by step I want to put the team in a better place than when I arrived.’

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