under pressure | 

Rumour swirl over Graham Potter’s Chelsea future after defeat at Fulham

Joao Felix was sent off on his Chelsea debut a derby night defeat at Fulham piled more pressure on under-fire Blues boss Potter.

Unhappy Potter: Graham Potter watches on during Chelsea's clash with Fulham© REUTERS

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Graham Potter has vowed to fight on as Chelsea manager, even though he admits he is facing up to a crisis after a 2-1 defeat at Fulham.

Joao Felix was sent off on his Chelsea debut a derby night defeat at Fulham piled more pressure on under-fire Blues boss Graham Potter.

The Portugal forward joined on loan from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and started at Craven Cottage, but only lasted 58 minutes before he was dismissed for a dangerous high-footed challenge on Kenny Tete.

The score was 1-1 at the time after Kalidou Koulibaly cancelled out Chelsea old boy Willian’s opener, only for Carlos Vinicius’ header to leave Potter’s side in 10th with one win in their last nine Premier League matches and 10 points off the top four.

The result lifted Fulham up to sixth, four points off fourth-placed Manchester United, after a fourth consecutive victory.

“It is tough, that’s for sure. I feel for the supporters and I feel for the players,” conceded Potter.

"I feel for everybody connected with the club. It’s a tough moment for us.

“We have to keep working. There is no other solution. Stay together, keep focused, move to the next match and try to get the three points.

"I thought we started quite well and had a good chance early. I thought we had decent control of the game.

“A couple of mistakes led to their goal but I thought we responded well second half. Then the red card obviously changed the game, making it more difficult for us.

“I thought the application when we were down to 10 was really good but I was disappointed with the goal. We can do better than that. That’s what cost us.

“There’s a reaction from the side and it’s a forward’s tackle, shall we say. There was too much malice in it and he got too much of the player. I understand why he was sent off.”

Reflecting on the three-match ban Felix will now face, Potter said: “It’s another blow. The hits keep on coming.

“I thought he was really good, you can see his quality, so obviously it’s doubly disappointing for us.”

The result forced bookies to slash their odds on Potter being the next Premier League manager to lose his job and he is now 15/8 second favourite in that race behind under-pressure Everton boss Frank Lampard at 17/20.

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