Graham Potter believes managing Chelsea is “the hardest job in football” due to the Blues’ ownership change and expectations at Stamford Bridge.
Former Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Potter has struggled since arriving in west London, with Chelsea sat 10 points adrift of the Premier League’s top four and 19 behind leaders Arsenal.
The Blues have won just one of their past eight matches in all competitions and have endured an equally poor run in the Premier League alone, leading Chelsea fans to chant for Potter’s predecessor Thomas Tuchel.
Those calls for Tuchel came after back-to-back defeats to Manchester City, as some Blues supporters voiced their frustration at Potter’s underwhelming start.
Todd Boehly’s takeover after Roman Abramovich’s departure has led to a significant overhaul at Chelsea, though, and Potter referenced those challenges as he reflected on a difficult period.
Ahead of Thursday’s Premier League trip to Fulham, the Chelsea head coach said: “Change is challenging in any organisation. The change [of ownership] happened for events outside of us so it is not like there is some sort of coup gone on. This is what it is.
“We have to deal with the new now and we have to build things up again because things have changed, things have gone, people have left. That was part of the challenge to come [here].
“I understood that was going to be really difficult. I just thought from a leadership perspective, it is fascinating, challenging and stimulating, and ridiculously hard.
“I think this is probably the hardest job in football because of that leadership change and because of the expectations, and because of rightly where people see Chelsea. And obviously, I didn’t think we would lose 10 first-team players [to injury] as well.
“But that’s just where we’re at. All I can do is come to you guys, speak honestly, give you my perspective and then understand the criticism you’ll get because you lose, if you do.”
Marina Granovskaia, technical and performance director Petr Cech, chairman Bruce Buck, chief executive Guy Laurence and head of international scouting Scott McLachlan were among those to leave Chelsea.
Boehly has replaced them with the likes of technical director Christopher Vivell from RB Leipzig, director of global talent and transfers Paul Winstanley, and Southampton’s Joe Shields in senior recruitment.
The main criticism from Chelsea fans remains over the treatment Tuchel, who was dismissed in September despite winning the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup in his 20-month Blues’ spell.
Potter has no interest in asking for sympathy after some Chelsea supporters called for Tuchel’s return, instead preferring to focus on the challenge ahead.
He added: “Ultimately, I am not after pity here. I am really grateful and privileged to be here. I look at how do you get through this tough period: be really grateful for it because it is an unbelievable challenge.
“Like, wow. What else could you be doing with your life? Worse. It is pain but then life can actually be pain.
“Life can really kick you in the nuts and then you have to recover from it, you have to deal with it, you have to move forward, you have to go again and that’s what makes life better when it turns to a good place.
“I feel like I have to take my responsibility and be grateful for the opportunity and the challenge I have.”