The ‘bohemian’ Graham Potter: the way of Chelsea’s new manager


Graham Potter (Solihull, England, 1975) is a bohemian. He is passionate about infinity, never staying in the same place on the board, spending the night from one tactical system to another, oblivious to colleagues trying to understand where his thoughts are. He doesn’t play concrete to play everything: 11 different systems used last year with Brighton, three different in six games this season. The complexity of playing everything to make life easier for your players. If he Chelsea you understand, will be a polyglot who will talk about everything in the field.

“It’s fun to see Brighton, it’s a pleasure to analyze. At the same time, when you see them, you worry about their quality,” he said. Pep Guardiola from Potter. “I am absolutely a big fan of Graham Potter. Everyone plays their positions, the ball gets to the positions, the players move freely and everyone knows what they have to do. They have the courage to play everywhere,” he praised. the coach of City of Manchester about the offensive style of the new ‘blue’ coach.

Like a good restless bohemian, Potter is dying to go into any corner, wherever the blackboard gives him, wherever the extreme vocation as a coach he feels will lead him. Although a participant with ‘Saints’ in the sound Southampton 6-3 Manchester United From 1996, his fame did not guarantee him any great coaching chair, just eight Premier games as a left-back in a modest career carved out at Birmingham, Wycome Wanderers, Stoke City, Southampton itself, West Bromwich, Northampton Town, Reading, York City , Boston United, Shrewsbury Town and Macclesfield, where he retired in 2005 with just 30 years in English Fourth Division.

His status required him to start with humble football. And of course he did. But from Swedish Fourth Division. There, in the treacherous but lost and dark city of Östersund, more than 500 kilometers from Stockholm and in the first spectacular display of his character, chameleonic Graham Potter began to bloom in 2011 in the cold Swedish spring. It was indeed a wild and dazzling spring explosion: Östersunds jumped from the Fourth to the First Division in 5 years (2016). A crazy wish, a huge ambition has come true.

And Potter, crossing borders with that ambition, began to travel with his ‘little team’ in Europe until he settled in England to appear not only in any place: 1-2 to Arsenal at the Emirates in the round of 32 of the Europa League. The number -0-3 in the first leg- is not so important, it is related to the feeling: he has already shown himself in the country where he left to introduce himself. The Swedish season has just started in 2018, the swansea he was recruited in the Championship -the last tenth place-, and the following year, Brighton called him for the stunning Premier. The rest is history, the one that ended up giving meaning to ‘delirious’ and uncertain ride.

And he began to show that flexibility, the one in which he agreed to lose in Sweden and which covered his board, saturated with tactical variations. But Graham Potter goes to reason by heart. Because, when he picked up the blackboard, it wasn’t that stupid teacher who bored him, it was the ‘coach’ who captivated, the one who ‘engaged’ the soccer players. “Before players, they are people”, defends Potter, a graduate in Social Sciences and a Master in Emotional Intelligence.

“You always have to give the players a reason to come and play for your football club. So you need to provide something else: an identity, a style that players can identify with. And, if we continue down that path, let them agree,” Potter argued in December in an interview with The Guardian.

“It’s not just about having a lot of good players here. You want different people, different perspectives, different characters. It’s about whether they can share some kind of common ground in terms of how to be, how to behave, how to respect each other, how to communicate. How to deal with disappointment. How to deal with success,” he explained in the same interview.

So, in the art of persuasion, Graham Potter can teach and suggest to his players anything he wants. Like 11 different tactical systems exposed by Brighton & Hove Albion last year: 3-5-2, 3-4-3, 3-4-2-1, 3-1-4-2, 5-4-1, 4-2-3-1, 4-1- 4 -1, 4-3-2-1, 4-3-1-2, 4-4-2 (rhombus) and 4-4-2 (double pivot). All of them are learned by the players like multiplication tables. Although, as tight as that number is, Potter lets his players flow.

“Football is fundamentally a players’ game. It’s not a coaches’ game. You can’t stop every five minutes and make adjustments. You can do some things on the sidelines, but that’s just teaching, really. Most players have to assume responsibility ”, explained the technician of 47 years. The key or one of them: Potter’s they are not single position players, They can act in some That makes them better understand the essence of the game, understand what the partner wants, become versatile interpreters.

And the rules that English gives to its players do not restrict their freedom but guide it so that they can express themselves better. Strong personality traits like ownership, with Brighton fourth last year with 54%, behind only City, Liverpool and Chelsea. And even though he has a wide range, Graham Potter loves to play systems of three central and passagewaysWell, not in vain, they were used in half of the games last year. Due to a detailed release of the ball in which the goalkeeper is important, the wingers indicate a sacred principle in the English idea that inspires a series of laborious and honest movements.

The lane player sticks to the lime line, the rival winger jumps for him, and from here, Storm, with the striker or inside player entering the space left by the full-back, and in turn, one of the forwards drops to occupy the space left by the rival centre-back to protect the back of his full-back. This relationship of lanes explains it Marc Cucurella find in Brighton the perfect context to expand and, at the same time, a coach who also understands him like no one else because of his past as left side The Catalan’s time at Chelsea will be an added value for Potter to implement his idea. ‘Cucu’ is the most famous ‘product’ of the English coach included Ben White (centre) signed by Arsenal in 2021.

From wing-back forays, Graham Potter’s Brighton liked to charge the box and, if a wide cross wasn’t possible, an alternative was to move play into the middle for second-row arrivals. Here they were shown a double trouble among rivals: 11 of the ‘Seagulls’ 42 goals last year came from the lateral center and another 7 with a shot from outside the area. Had to get out quickly to cover the front even if it meant emptying a minefield of enemies, who never stopped moving to get a filtered pass into space from the front .

Tilting creates spaces that a team like Brighton knows how to occupy, where the forwards are continuous mobility, with repetitive drag movements to facilitate the arrival of the second line, support unchecks to provide continuity of actions by band, etc. In addition, the ‘Seagulls’, sixth last year in lateral centers per game with 19, they showed an excellent command of the short game, joint fifth in the Premier last season with 443 pass, above Arsenal. Important virtue to distract and attract to activate passes in space or change the game of the sides. Without disdaining the strategy: 6 goals from corners last year and one from a lateral foul.

But despite the penchant for possession and positional play, there is no inviolable dogma. If exit is not possible, Danny Welbeck offered a long way out. If you remove high pressure, retreat and counterattack: six of Brighton’s goals last year came on conversions. If Potter doesn’t stay in the same country to train, if he doesn’t stay in the same system, he also doesn’t stay in one way of dealing with the ball. 4-0 against Brighton Man Utd last year, one of his great masterpieces.

“I really like watching their team, I don’t like playing against them too much. It’s really nice”, Jürgen Klopp also spoke about Graham Potter, idolized by two of the Premier’s best coaches where he now seeks to end a disastrous drought 30 years no English manager has ever won the league. More than a decade later, Potter is getting the chance of a lifetime at an elite Premier club. But he, unfazed by his high cache and unfazed by so many laps and victories, hasn’t changed and makes sure he continues to hang out with his common friends. Loving and strong character as a man to the pride of himself but too changeable as a coach to the anguish of his colleagues on the bench. A tactical madman with a golden pickaxe.

Source: La Verdad


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