Graham Potter insisted it’s the win that matters and not how the manager behaves after he was handed a neck-and-neck in the Champions League with his friendly boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Hours after he outlined his desire to conquer Europe with an eloquent statement, Chelsea and Potter met holders Real Madrid for a third consecutive year in next month’s quarter-finals.
Chelsea could then face Manchester City in the semi-finals – a repeat of the 2021 final in Porto won by the Blues – if Pep Guardiola’s side get past his former club Bayern Munich in the last eight.
At a hospitality event for Chelsea members on Thursday night, Potter said on stage in a clip that went viral: “We’re going to try to beat Everton (today in the Premier League), win the (Champions League) draw and Then we’ll try to win the damn Champions League.
After Friday’s draw in Nyon, Potter said with a smile: “I said we were going to try and win the Champions League! This also applies to the other seven clubs. They will also say that they could lose in the quarter-finals because that’s the nature of the Champions League. We will focus on Madrid when we get there. It’s Everton at the moment.
Chelsea’s Graham Potter insisted it’s the win that counts, not how the manager behaves
Chelsea and Potter later met Real Madrid, the defending champions of Carlo Ancelotti
“The feeling is excitement but I’d rather talk about Everton because that’s the next game. The other stuff is far away.’
After his reserved approach was questioned and compared to the more outspoken and provocative Chelsea managers of the past, Potter’s rallying cry on stage was well received by supporters.
Asked about Ancelotti and his calm demeanor, however, Potter said, “I don’t feel like talking about how people think you should be. He should be Carlo Ancelotti, he should be Pep Guardiola, he should be Jurgen Klopp and I should be me. I don’t care what you think is my answer to that.
“When you win, you can be whoever you want, and when you lose, someone else wants. You just have to be yourself. If you try to act, the situation will find you out. Carlo has been himself throughout his career and has done extremely well.
“I do not know him. I played against him when he was manager at Everton. He’s a gentleman. What he has achieved in his career has been amazing.”
Potter admitted he was surprised to see Mason Mount in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.
The midfielder was only picked for Potter, only to confirm 24 hours later that he would not be fit for England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine next week. “I’m not aware of any setback for Mount. As far as I know he was never available,’ Potter said.
“Yes, I was surprised that he was named. As a club we will seek clarity as to why it was him. It took him a bit of time for his injury to settle down, which pretty much ruled him out of England. Whether they needed a bit of time to double-check that, I don’t know.”
Chelsea could then meet Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the semifinals
In a clip that went viral, Potter said: “We’re going to try and win the friggin’ Champions League.”
N’Golo Kante could return for Chelsea against Everton today after a long-term injury.
City and Bayern last met in 2014 in the group stage of the Champions League. Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann said: “If you win the title, nobody can blame you for being lucky with a draw. In the round of 16 it was Paris Saint-Germain, then Manchester City, then Real or Chelsea and then a Portuguese or Italian team in the final.
“It would be a triumph of great value, one of great mentality and quality.”
AC Milan drew in an all-Italian quarter-final with Napoli, while the other round of 16 pitted Benfica and Inter Milan against each other. The winners of these duels meet in May in the other semi-final.