Graham Potter’s tenure as Chelsea’s manager has been one marked with challenges. One of the most glaring obstacles in Potter’s path has been his oversized squad.
Potter’s strategy is to make the team competitive on multiple fronts – domestically and internationally. However, this has often caused Potter to fall short in certain areas due to his ‘oversized’ squad size.
The Blues made some major moves this season. With the six new additions last month, the team now has a total of 31 players on their first-team squad.
As the Chelsea boss quickly came to find out, the sheer size of his new squad made it nearly impossible to implement the intensive pattern of play and team shape training he was used to at his previous clubs. He soon realized he needed to adapt and modify his training methods in order to keep his team focused and efficient in their preparation.
So, the Chelsea boss set up more practical exercises on the training field, encouraging players to work together on tight marking and dynamic defensive structures. These would create a strong team identity and give the team more resilience in different match scenarios. To further emphasize team play, he also worked with the squad on different offensive moves, which developed the understanding of the attack in particular scenarios.
However, it has proven difficult to replicate those sessions with 31 players.
Potter ran 11 vs 11 training matches at his former clubs to get the best out of his system and players. He has had to change his coaching sessions since getting to Chelsea. As a result, not all the players are involved in his core training sessions. That has affected their performances on the pitch, with just two wins in 15 games recorded.
The Blues boss had been hoping to ensure that his team would benefit from consistent training but despite his best efforts, the team was unable to get the same quality of training in every session. He wanted to keep a routine that would bring about the best possible outcomes but with too many players in the squad, it was nearly impossible to guarantee. The team needed to find a way to make the most out of their limited training opportunities.
The squad size not only causes player fatigue and competition, but it can also reduce squad chemistry and overall cohesion. Furthermore, it limits the number of younger players Potter can call on to make an impact. Potter’s use of a large squad may explain his proclivity to leave out certain players, causing frustration in the locker room. This is one of the most significant challenges that Chelsea faces under Potter’s leadership.
Chelsea could face a £50 million pay out if Graham Potter is fired
So it’s no surprise that the manager’s recent results have been less than stellar. Chelsea has lost key games this season, and it’s difficult to say whether the team’s woes can be attributed to Potter’s overly ambitious approach of fielding too many players in each game. Chelsea’s success on the field is unlikely to be maximized until Potter reduces his squad size to something more manageable and tactical.