Chelsea

What is Potterball? Graham Potter tactics explained amid Hakim Ziyech doubt and Mason Mount role

Football.London

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There is great anticipation ahead of Chelsea’s clash with RB Salzburg as Graham Potter is set to make his debut as Blues boss. And, for the first time, the west Londoners will not be on the receiving end of ‘Potterball’ – a coined term created by supporters to name the 47-year-old’s managerial philosophies.

Briefly speaking, ‘Potterball’ is attacking, possession-based, high-pressing, free-flowing football which utilises tactical fluidity to create space and outnumber the opposition. And, after years of regimented defensive displays dominating Stamford Bridge, Chelsea could soon home to some of Europe’s most exciting displays.

So we, football.london, have collated some of the best interviews with the people closest to Potter to help define what ‘Potterball’ really is. Upon penning a five-year deal in west London, the former Brighton boss outlined how he would like to see his new side play in an interview with the in-house club media.

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“We like to play in an attacking way, a balanced way, and players have to feel free to make decisions and express themselves,” the Blues boss said. “It’s about winning, creating a team which competes, is honest and works together; it’s a combination between football and human values.”

‘Potterball’ has taken the tactician from the depths of the Swedish football pyramid to the top-flight. Potters trick? Delving into the phycology of his players.

“Styles of play don’t make you win games,” the former Ostersund’s boss said, speaking to The Coaches’ Voice. “The challenge is having players believe in it, how it works.”

In an interview with The Independent, one of Ostersund’s founding father’s club secretary Lasse Lindin explained how Potter made such a good impression. He said: “I remember the first year, I sat down and had a chat with Graham.

“Most football coaches only talk about formations, but Graham was talking about the learning process and how to build a human being. He was totally different as a football coach. For me, as a former teacher, it was amazing. He understands that the players and the staff are humans, and knows how to get as much as possible from every individual without taking the group feeling away.”

Former Celtic and Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson told The Independent how Potter’s tactical fluidity was to behold. He said of the Chelsea boss: “The way he was able to change his pattern of play during games was so impressive.

“They played all different kinds of systems, starting off a match one way, and then halfway through they started playing a different system, and then they ended up with a third system. And all the players knew exactly what they were doing.”

However, while ‘Potterball’ is set to take Chelsea by storm and reignite the careers of several players, many who can not keep up with the strenuous physical demands will be left behind. Hakim Ziyech, who technically is superb, could struggle in Potter’s system, meanwhile players like Armando Broja or Mason Mount could thrive with their high-energy play styles.

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