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William Gallas Exclusive: Potter Won’t Get The Time He Needs

Former Chelsea defender William Gallas believes new Blues boss Graham Potter may need time to work out his best system at Stamford Bridge - but is not confident that the club’s board will be patient with him. The former Brighton manager has deployed a different formation in each of his first two games since joining Chelsea, while the West Londoners primarily played with a back three under predecessor Thomas Tuchel. A 1-1 home draw against RB Salzburg was followed by a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace - and Gallas feels Potter will need to keep the positive results flowing, as he experiments in search of the optimal team shape.


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Searching For The Right System

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “I think [Potter] is trying to find the best system for the club. 

“He played with a back four against Palace and I think he is still working out the best way to play with the squad.

“What is good is they won. It looks like he needs time, but when you are the manager of Chelsea you’re not given time and I don’t think the owner will give him time. 

“They need results straight away and they will need to finish in the top four at a minimum.

Everything is in his hands. To understand the best system for the team, he will need to try a few different things with different players. 

“In football, what is very important is tactical flexibility - that is what we expect these days from the best teams - they must be flexible. You have to adapt.”

Unsure Of Back Three Or Four

Gallas is undecided as to whether Potter will settle on a back three or a back four. Should the latter be chosen, the Frenchman feels Kalidou Koulibaly will have to fight for a starting spot over Wesley Fofana.

“When you arrive at a new club, in a new country, you have to show what you can do,” he explained. 

“It doesn’t matter how good you were at your last club. I think that Chelsea are a level above Napoli as a club. 

“He [Koulibaly] has to show Potter how good he is and I think he will be given the opportunity to play in the Champions League against Milan on Wednesday.

“He needs to have a good performance to put pressure on the manager to start him regularly. Don’t speak, play well on the pitch and then Potter has to decide. 

“There are a lot of good players at Chelsea. If they play with a back three, he will play alongside Thiago [Silva] and Fofana. 

“If Chelsea decide to play with a back four - which I think is still 50/50 what Potter goes for - I didn’t think that Fofana had a great game against Palace, so Koulibaly has to be ready to step in when he is needed.”

William Gallas Exclusive: Tomori Should Not Have Been Let Go

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Silva In Doubt

One player whose starting spot is not in doubt, according to Gallas, is Thiago Silva.

The Frenchman dismissed the notion that the 38-year-old would struggle to perform in a back four, but suggested other players will need to cover for him in that system.

“He [Thiago Silva] can absolutely play in a back four, but it depends on the players that he has around him,” he continued. 

“That is why it is very important to have a lot of communication with your centre-back partner. 

“I remember when I played alongside Marcel Descailly, who was a little bit older, at Chelsea and I would say to him, ‘I’m going to cover you, Marcel, don’t worry.’ 

“As you get older at the back, you lose your pace but you don’t lose the ability to read a game, your positioning. I had the same issue when I got older as well.

“If the communication between him and his teammates is good, he can play in a back four without any problem. 

“[Ben] Chilwell needs to help him. He needs to understand that his first priority is to defend - if he goes too high and gets caught out, Thiago has to cover his ground and it becomes difficult for him. 

“In a match, this scenario can happen one or two times but anything more than this and it will become difficult for him to finish the match.

“The first priority of any defence is to defend. If you are strong at the back then the players in front of you can make the difference with the quality that they have. 

“We can see this right now with Liverpool, they are not strong at the back and it is affecting the whole team. They are suffering.”

 

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V: 1.22.1 All rights reserved. August 2021
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