under pressure | 

Graham Potter finds silver linings as Chelsea crash out of League Cup

Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez struck early in the second half as City eased into the fourth round.

Graham Potter is on a bad run at Chelsea© REUTERS

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Chelsea manager Graham Potter insisted he took some comfort from his side’s performance, as they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez struck early in the second half as City eased into the fourth round, leaving Potter to come up with more excuses after a challenging few weeks that included Premier League defeats against Brighton and Arsenal.

"A lot to like. We created some big chances and attacked well,” said an upbeat Potter.

"We weren't perfect, but did a lot right in the game. It was a pleasing performance, a step forward in how we want to play.

"I'm disappointed with the result but happy with the performance.

"We had some big chances. You won't get many bigger ones here. We had big courage to try to play out. The boys showed quality and courage. I liked a lot of what we did today.

"We could have done better for their goals. The wall could do better. It's those fine details you can improve but performance-wise I'm really happy.

"Lewis Hall did brilliantly. Fantastic performance. Great quality and effort. He took responsibility. Putting the ball in the net is the hardest thing and that's all he didn't do today.

"I'm always concerned when we don't get results. Our performances haven't been what we wanted in the last couple of games. But today is what we wanted the team to look like. We looked like a good team."

Mahrez gave City the lead with a fine free-kick after 53 minutes of Wednesday’s third-round tie before Alvarez tapped in the second five minutes later at the Etihad Stadium.

Chelsea’s impressive youngster Lewis Hall twice brought good saves out of Stefan Ortega but City, bidding to win the competition for a seventh time in 10 seasons, were good value for their victory.

Further good news for the home side – and potentially England – was that midfielder Kalvin Phillips had a 40-minute run-out.

Phillips had been out since undergoing shoulder surgery in September and the game was his last opportunity to prove his fitness before England boss Gareth Southgate names his World Cup squad on Thursday.

"We are really good. Pleased with the result and performance because of how good Chelsea are,” said Potter.

"Julian Alvarez has been an exceptional player from day one. He scores loads of goals.He fights against one of the best strikers in the world. Erling is not fully fit. They can play together. Good players can always play together.

"Stefan Ortega was man of the match. That shows how good Chelsea are. I don't deny he was perfect. We see him every day, he's an incredible keeper. He's an incredible human being. He played three games lately and he's been exceptional."

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