Chelsea news: Potter has revealed what his side will be doing during the tournament as attention tentatively turns towards Qatar.
Graham Potter has made hasty plans for Chelsea’s group that won’t be heading to Qatar for the winter World Cup in under four weeks.
The Blues still have eight matches to play across the next month in three competitions before the midseason break, but attention is now being shifted carefully towards the tournament. With injuries now of even more heightened importance for players that are hoping to participate, it’s a sensitive time.
Chelsea have already had N’Golo Kante ruled out due to a reoccurrence of the hamstring issue that has kept him sidelined for 11 matches this season already, whilst Reece James faces an unlikely battle against time to be fit. His knock against AC Milan was worse than first feared, and the 22-year-old will be in wearing a protective boot for at least four weeks in the meantime.
For Potter, all of this is unexpected and frantic. He has been in charge for six weeks but admitted that it feels like six months ahead of the Blues’ match against Brentford. Potter was only expecting five of his Brighton players to be at the World Cup but now faces over 12 of his current squad missing, though that number could rise.
It’s a challenging period and one that managers referenced as far back as last season when looking ahead, and the 47-year-old can consider himself behind with preparations and planning for the month of tournament football as most clubs will already have made decisions as to how best to allocate the time.
Not only has Potter already had enough on his plate with early transfer talk, Champions League football, a bloated squad, unhappy players, injuries, transfers to discuss and contracts to decide – all of which happens off the field. He also needs to make snap decisions as to what Chelsea will do between November 12th and December 26th.
Having seen 13 matches between October and the break, Potter would have been excused for allowing it to drift slightly, but with just eight games left and the competition rapidly approaching, he has admitted that the process is ongoing. “We’re probably in the planning stage,” he said when asked what the remaining players will be doing. “We’ll have some time off, and then we’ll look at a warm weather camp, I think. So it will be a combination of the two.”
Antonio Conte has given a more detailed version of Tottenham’s plan, saying: “I gave my idea to the club. For sure, I think every team will go to have a bit of rest – 10 days to two weeks – and then you need to make the best solution,” he said.
“Then I would like to go to a place where the temperature is good, to stay there and have good training sessions and wait for the players to come back from the World Cup.
“At the same time, you have to understand if the club can help me to do it or if we have to stay in London, but for sure, I gave them my idea.”
When the tournament ends, with the final on December 21st, Potter will be back in action twice more before the end of 2023, something else to plan for, though the fitness of returning players is not something that any manager will be able to account for.