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First Premier League game; Kante fitness; Working with Aubameyang

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Graham Potter is finally set to get his first taste of Premier League action as Chelsea manager as the Blues make the short trip across London to face Crystal Palace on Saturday.


Fixture postponements and the international break have given the new boss plenty of time to think about his maiden league outing.

Here’s the highlights from Potter’s press conference.

Has your 23-day wait for a league match been good or bad?

“Probably a bit of both if I’m honest. Used the time to get to know people in an environment without games but at the same time we’re itching to go, itching to play. That’s really where you find out about everything and you learn a lot and make an impression.

“Couldn’t really control anything in terms of how things have panned out with the cancellations. International break is what it is, then we just have to make the most of it.”

Will Graham Potter’s Chelsea look different to Thomas Tuchel’s?

“I think everybody has got a slightly different idea of football and don’t get too wound up about that. It’s more a choice of what we all make and the job then is to make our choices work. Huge respect for Thomas and his teams. I’m not in the business of comparing myself to him or anyone else. I’m just going to try and put a team out on the pitch that is recognisable, something the supporters are proud of, and ultimately a winning football team.”

N’Golo Kante & Edouard Mendy both trained, are they available?

“No they’re not. They’re absolutely fine in terms of coming through their rehab stages. NG has just been on the grass with the team but not full training. Eddie is a bit further on but hasn’t had enough to be involved at the weekend really. Maybe next week for him.”

How difficult is it to pick a team with so few players during the break?

“It’s part of the job, part of the challenge. We can do some thinking while they’re away, do some analysis and watch games. You’ve got to start somewhere, we’ve a lot of games to come. It’s been well documented the amount of games we have which is great because we can see the players, lots of competition, everybody is ready.

“It’s never easy picking a team because we’ve got good players and good options but we can deal with that.”

Are you looking forward to working with Aubameyang?

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to working with him, I’ve enjoyed working with him in the brief time we’ve worked together. He’s a good guy, focused, wants to do well, wants to play, wants to score.”

Does he feel he needs to redeem himself back in the Premier League?

“I’m not sure. You’d have to speak to him about that. He’s got nothing to prove to me. His career is his career, I’ve got a huge respect for that. My job is to help him enjoy his football, help him be part of what we’re trying to do here. He’s acted as a top professional, top person.”

How long to get players on your wavelength?

“I don’t want to be that guy asking for time but the coaching process, that type of development it helps if you have time. I understand we’re in a world where there isn’t a lot of patience either. I’ve never been one of those guys that ask for time. All I can do is try my best, try to improve and whatever people think on the outside is out of my control.”

Any surprises so far?

“No, I don’t think surprised. I’ve been really positively happy with how everyone has welcomed me, the feeling I’ve got at Cobham, the training ground, the players have been amazing, very open, very honest, there’s a really good group here with good experienced players and nice young ones who are also ambitious.

“Good group, good mix, it’s just been really surreal because we haven’t had games and went into an international break. Looking forward to getting going tomorrow.”

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