Graham Potter to use World Cup break to 'refocus' after Chelsea's poor run continues

Blues lost third straight Premier League game with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday

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Graham Potter said Chelsea will use the World Cup break as an opportunity to "refocus and reenergise" after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United extended their miserable run of form.

After an encouraging start since replacing Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea manager at the start of September with six wins in nine games across all competitions, Potter has since overseen four defeats in their past five matches, including three straight in the Premier League.

It leaves the Blues down in eighth place, eight points adrift of the top four, as club football takes a break for the Qatar World Cup, with Chelsea not back in action until December 27.

"It’s been tough. We’re not in a great moment," Potter said. "We have to lick our wounds. We have a break now so we have to refocus, reenergise and hopefully get some players back. It’s been an incredibly intense period.

"You have to accept the struggles you’ve had and then move forward. It’s change of scenery, a change of focus and when everyone comes back we can start again."

Joe Willock's superb strike in the second half settled the game for high-flying Newcastle, who cemented third spot heading into the break after a fifth straight win in the league and further raising hopes the Magpies could be playing Champions League football next season.

Newcastle have the added advantage of a less congested schedule, with many of their top four rivals involved in European competitions.

"You could see the two teams’ different schedules, Newcastle with one game a week and us after a six-week period with a lot of matches," Potter said. "It probably took its toll.

"The boys gave a lot but we lacked a bit of quality," the Chelsea manager added. "There were too many unforced errors. When we tried to play we got through a couple of times, but there wasn’t enough quality.

Newcastle v Chelsea player ratings

"In a game of not too many chances, they get the winner, and as much as we push at the end, it wasn’t enough."

As Chelsea's season threatens to unravel, optimism is high at Newcastle and manager Eddie Howe admitted the club has some major targets while trying to stay focused on short-term results.

"When you're in our current position you'd be foolish not to be. I'm excited by what can be, while respecting the quality of the league," Howe said.

"We haven't thought about any permutation or any consequence of the games. We've just tried to win them and I think that's the best way for us to attack the second half of the season as well."

Updated: November 13, 2022, 6:04 AM
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