Reports suggest that Graham Potter’s decision to start Hakim Ziyech during Chelsea’s Premier League defeat to Tottenham back in February had set off alarm bells within the Chelsea hierarchy. The decision had left Chelsea co-owners, Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, particularly concerned and this reportedly fueled their doubts about Potter, who was sacked on Sunday after only seven months in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Despite winning only 12 out of his 31 games in charge of Chelsea, the club’s owners continued to back Potter through the team’s struggles. However, the Daily Telegraph reports that the owners had been skeptical of Potter’s tactics for some time and were left even more worried after the loss to Spurs.
Ziyech, who Chelsea tried to offload in January, was expected to play a limited role for the rest of the season before leaving the club in the summer. However, Potter opted to start the Moroccan winger against Spurs, a decision that surprised the top brass at Stamford Bridge. Ziyech was eventually replaced by defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria as Chelsea chased an equalizer.
Potter’s tactics during Chelsea’s defeat to Aston Villa were also criticized by former Manchester City defender Micah Richards, who claimed that the coach needs to do more tactically. Chelsea’s owners were also reportedly surprised by some of the decision-making during the game.
The defeat to Villa left Chelsea 11th in the Premier League with 10 games remaining. Bruno, a former Brighton star, has been appointed as interim head coach and will lead Chelsea against Liverpool on Tuesday night. Although Chelsea has little to play for in the Premier League, the team will soon turn its attention to a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.