Gary Neville asserts that despite the “massive pressure” placed on their head coach, Chelsea must continue to believe in Graham Potter.
In the January transfer window, the Todd Boehly-led ownership group heavily backed Potter, investing about £300 million to bring in a slew of star players.
While Chelsea beat Arsenal to Mykhaylo Mudryk and spent a Premier League-record £106.8 million (€121 million) for Enzo Fernandez from Benfica, Joao Felix joined on a short-term loan from Atletico Madrid.
That has not helped Chelsea’s difficulties, though, after the Blues lost down 1-0 to top-flight strugglers Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday – leaving Potter with just one win in his previous 10 outings.
Neville, a former captain of Manchester United, does not believe Potter will be fired anytime soon by Boehly.
On his Gary Neville Podcast, he stated: “Potter is under massive pressure. You can see it in his face. The chances they missed in the second half and the boos at the end of the game, felt a little ominous.
“I think they’ll want to do the right thing, the Chelsea owners.
“They’ve sacked a manager very early in the season in Thomas Tuchel, they’ve owned their new manager, they’ve brought recruitment assistants in alongside him, so they’ve invested heavily in Graham and his team… but they have to hold their nerve if they want to see it through.
“But I suspect that nerve is being tested, as any owner’s would be when you’ve spent that level of money and you’re losing games at home to the [side] bottom of the league.”
Chelsea’s difficulties in front of goal continue as they linger in 10th place in the Premier League, already 23 points behind leaders Arsenal and 11 behind the top four.
The Blues have only managed to score four goals in ten games in all competitions, and they haven’t scored at all in six of those contests, which is more blanks in 2023 than any other Premier League side.
Neville thinks that Potter’s inability to continue his stellar playas he did with Brighton and Hove Albion in his current position in west London is being hampered by a bloated roster.
“He’s a fantastic coach,” Neville said. “You get the idea he’d like to build a pattern of play with a group of players on a consistent basis and he’s got 33 of them staring at him down the barrel saying ‘play me’.
“And these aren’t junior players, they’re senior internationals and I can’t imagine what it must be like to have 33 players.
“He’s got 22 players who are not going to play. If they’re all fit – how do you even get them all into a training session?
“They needed to unload players off Graham Potter to take the pressure of handling all those players that are expecting to play every single week.”
Neville claimed that Potter is hampered by conflicting interests at Chelsea because Boehly wants to bring in marquee players.
“I’ve used the word chaotic and I think it has been chaotic in the first six months of the Boehly ownership,” Neville said. “I won’t change my mind on that.
“They’ve invested heavily, they’re putting their money where their mouth is and are saying all the right things.
“But at this moment in time, it won’t be a successful project when you have 33 players all looking at the manager and a manager who wants to build a measured project.
“It feels a little bit conflicted with what Potter would ordinarily be really strong at and what the ownership seem to want in respect of filling a squad and accumulating players of that sort of volume.”