Chelsea Football Club announced on Sunday that head coach Graham Potter has been sacked after less than seven months in charge. The decision followed Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, which saw Chelsea drop into the bottom half of the Premier League. Potter had managed 11 defeats in his 31 games since replacing Thomas Tuchel in September.
Bruno Saltor, a coach who left Brighton with Potter to join Chelsea upon his appointment, will take over as interim head coach. In a statement, co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali expressed their gratitude for Potter’s contributions and the respect they hold for him as a coach and individual. They assured their support for Saltor and the team as they focus on the remaining 10 Premier League games and the upcoming Champions League quarter-final.
Sources informed ESPN that the decision to remove Potter was made by sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart but had the full backing of the board. Potter received the news during face-to-face talks at the Cobham training base on Sunday. A compromise was reached over his payoff, which will be less than the full value of his contract.
The loss to Villa left Chelsea 11th in the league with a negative goal difference. Fans at Stamford Bridge voiced their frustrations, chanting “You don’t know what you’re doing” at Potter during the match. Despite spending over £550m on new players since the club’s takeover last May, results continued to decline.
Chelsea are set to host Liverpool on Tuesday and face Real Madrid in their Champions League quarterfinal tie later this month. Sources told ESPN that senior figures at the club admire Julian Nagelsmann, who was sacked by Bayern Munich on March 24. However, Chelsea have not yet made significant progress in identifying a permanent replacement for Potter.
Potter signed a five-year deal to replace Tuchel, with Chelsea paying his £21m buyout clause to release him from Brighton. He leaves with a 39% overall win rate, the lowest of any permanent Chelsea manager this century. Potter, 47, had previously described his position as “the toughest job in football,” referring to the upheaval at the club following sanctions on former owner Roman Abramovich and the subsequent sale last year.