Graham Potter pinpoints Newcastle United ‘advantage’ as reason for Chelsea defeat

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Graham Potter’s verdict on Chelsea’s defeat against Newcastle United.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter paid full credit to Newcastle United for the 1-0 victory - but felt they benefited from a less busy fixture schedule. Eddie Howe’s side emerged as winners at St James’ Park via Joe Willock’s 67th-minute goal.

Although both clubs had the exact number of days rest from the midweek Carabao Cup action, Potter believes his side are feeling the effects of their involvement in Europe. The Blues lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek to injury early on, while Cesar Azpilicueta was forced off at half-time.

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“It doesn’t make it any easier losing Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) when we did,” Potter said. “Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta) was also struggling a little so we had to take him off at half-time. It doesn’t make it easier against a team in a really good moment and playing with huge intensity.

“The first half was relatively even, they started the second half better than us and we had to adjust a little bit but we did that. Conor (Gallagher) had an opportunity, Nick Pope made a good save and then Newcastle scored.

“I don’t think we had too many unforced errors, or maintain any real quality or pressure but again, credit to Newcastle, they’re playing well and in a really good moment. You could probably see the difference in the schedules, only one game versus the intense period we’ve had.”

Chelsea manager Graham Potter. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Chelsea manager Graham Potter. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Graham Potter. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images) | Getty Images

As Potter alluded to, Nick Pope produced an outstanding save to deny Conor Gallagher before Newcastle went straight up the other end and broke the deadlock. Chelsea pushed for an equaliser without really testing the United goalkeeper.

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Howe’s men battled and defended hard to keep their seventh clean sheet of the campaign, much to the frustration of Chelsea, whose players clashed with Newcastle’s at full-time whistle.

Potter added: “I thought we got into some spaces quite well but then a sloppy pass that is normally like us. I have to defend the players in terms of fatigue and what they’ve had to deal with. Newcastle don’t make it easy for you, they’re one of the best teams defensively in the Premier League.

“Again, credit to the opponent for that, it was a tough game for us.”

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