EPL

Potter hopeful of Joao Felix impact as on-loan forward prepares for Chelsea return

By Sports Desk February 10, 2023

Graham Potter is hopeful Joao Felix can make a difference for out-of-form Chelsea on his return from suspension at West Ham, acknowledging his raft of new signings must gel quickly.

Joao Felix arrived on loan from Atletico Madrid last month and initially impressed on his debut at Fulham, though a rash challenge on Kenny Tete saw him sent off 58 minutes into the Blues' 2-1 defeat.

That made him the first player to be dismissed on his Premier League debut for Chelsea, and Potter's men have struggled for attacking inspiration during his subsequent three-match ban.

After beating Crystal Palace 1-0 in their next game, Chelsea laboured to goalless draws with Liverpool and Fulham – they have never drawn three successive league matches 0-0 in their history.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's short trip to face London rivals West Ham, Potter highlighted Joao Felix's positive performances in training. 

"I think we all saw the impact he had in his hour before the red card," Potter recalled of his debut. "You can see his quality, we see it every day. 

"He's a player that can make a difference for us. It's about helping him to get integrated into the team, but the signs are really positive."

The Portugal attacker has since been joined by more big-name arrivals at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea investing heavily to acquire Mykhaylo Mudryk, Enzo Fernandez and others.

Asked how patient he could afford to be with his new players, Potter said: "It's my job. When you're coaching players, there is a process to go through and you have to understand the context.

"I'm not stupid, at the end of the day, if the results aren't what this club should get, and if I'm the reason for it... then that's the job.

"In the meantime, I have to go through the process of working with the players, helping them improve. 

"It's a complicated situation at the moment, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge that awaits us. I don't worry about the absolute timescale of it all."

Reports have suggested Chelsea could help to balance their incomings by letting Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang depart for Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles FC, but Potter says there is "nothing to report" on that front.

"He's been training with us this week, conducting himself well," Potter added. "He has been supporting his team-mates and while he is here, he is doing exactly what I expect him to do."

Potter was also asked about this week's announcement that Manchester City have been charged with breaching the Premier League's financial regulations, but he was careful to stress the champions remain innocent until proven guilty. 

"I don't know anything about it, we focus on ourselves. It's something Manchester City have to deal with," he said.

"As I understand it, they're just charges. Certainly in this country, you're innocent until you're proven guilty, so it's not for me to comment on it."

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