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Graham Potter finds a word to describe Chelsea's drubbing at Brighton

Potter was confront with cries of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ from Brighton fans after a 4-1 defeat.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter during the Premier League match at the Amex Stadium, Brighton. Picture date: Saturday October 29, 2022.© PA

Sunday World

Chelsea were due a setback after some indifferent displays since Graham Potter took over as manager, but the manner of this 4-1 drubbing will set alarm bells ringing.

Potter was confront with cries of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ from Brighton fans delighting in the sight of their former manager seeing his old team tear Chelsea to shreds at the AMEX Stadium.

And while the axe may not fall for Potter yet, he can’t afford to have too many more afternoons like this if he wants to be given time to build foundations at Chelsea.

Rampant Brighton raced into a commanding half-time lead, with own goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah compounding Potter’s despair following Leandro Trossard’s early opener.

Kai Havertz pulled a goal back just after the restart but the Blues were unable to prevent a first defeat in 10 games since the sacking of Thomas Tuchel as Pascal Gross rubbed salt into the wound in added time.

The remarkable result at a raucous Amex Stadium was the Seagulls’ maiden victory under new head coach Roberto De Zerbi and a first over the west London club since 1933, with the unforgiving home supporters gleefully revelling in their ex-manager’s misery.

"The scoreline and the defeat is a painful one,” conceded Potter. “We didn't really recover. Once the crowd were so engaged it was a difficult one for us. Brighton played a good game, especially in the first half.

"You can always look at goals and think you can do better. We have to take responsibility a bit in the first half. We have had a lot of football but that's no excuse. We couldn't quite get to that level. We didn't take our opportunities in attack and they did.

"We had some opportunities to attack them too but unfortunately we missed the pass or didn't execute, then the scoreline was a painful one. When you lose you can always do better."

When asked about the hostile reception he received from Brighton fans, Potter added: "I have nothing to apologise or say sorry for. I think I did a good job at the club and left it in a good place but people are entitled to their opinions.

"It's part of the process. You have to suffer and feel pain in order to grow and get better. Nobody said we were the finished article. We have to take the pain today and learn from it."

Potter returned to Brighton with six wins and three draws from his nine fixtures at Stamford Bridge and looking to inflict further punishment on a side that began the day with just two points from a possible 15 since his departure seven weeks ago.

Yet this was a day when the script was to have a nasty twist for Potter, with Brighton captain Lewis Dunk taking the opportunity to praise Potter’s replacement Roberto De Zerbi.

"There's been a massive impact since the new manager came in,” de stated.

"Obviously we are still learning his ways and we are on the training pitch all together working as hard as we can for him and trying to take it on board.

"Sometimes you just get a start and you get the momentum and it carries on through the first half. I thought it in the first half we were excellent.

"At 3-0 up we thought let's not let it slip! Going in at half-time at 3-0 up is nice but we have to score the next goal and they managed it and we were lucky that we hung on until the end.”

Chelsea are now eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, with that gap to the top extending to ten points if Arsenal beat Nottingham Forest to regain top spot today.

While Potter is still finding his feet at Chelsea, the job security he had at Brighton is not replicated in his latest role and he has to be worried about key areas of his team after this hammering.

Chelsea captain Thiago Silva had already twice been forced to head off his own goal-line – first to deny Trossard and then Pervis Estupinan – when three sides of the ground erupted in the fifth minute.

Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma claimed the assist on his full Premier League debut, delightfully dancing into the box and offloading to in-form Trossard, who rounded goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga before emphatically dispatching his seventh goal of the season beyond former Seagulls defender Marc Cucurella.

Own goals from Loftus-Cheek and Chalobah put Brighton 3-0 up at half-time and while Chelsea improved in the second half, but the late clincher from Gross rubber-stamped Potter’s first defeat as Blues boss.

Next Sunday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge is now looking like a huge game for Potter and his stuttering Blues.

Any repeat of this mauling and Chelsea chiefs may well start to question whether they hired the right manager just 52 days ago.

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