Chelsea manager Graham Potter has revealed the reason why Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic were deployed as Wing backs against RB Salzburg in the Champions League.
The blues booked their spot in the Round 16 stage of this season’s Champions League after a 2-1 win over the Austrian Champions.
The result of AC Milan’s thrashing of Dinamo Zagreb by 6-0 confirms Chelsea as the automatic leaders of Group E.
Graham Potter has revealed that his decision to play Sterling and Pulisic as Wingbacks was because of the way Salzburg defends.
What did Graham Potter say?
Speaking at a Press conference after the game, the 47-year-old said: “The idea, because of how Red Bull defends, they often give you the opposite space. So if you can get the ball out to someone good in one-vs-one situations, you can have an advantage potential. But also, it makes them stretch across the pitch and open up games in their very organized line. I worked quite well today and I’m pleased for the boys.”
On the effectiveness of Sterling and Pulisic in the winger position, Potter added: “Yeah I thought it was quite good.
“We got Raheem in some good areas and Christian as well, and the fact they [Salzburg] had to defend in a back four quite wide in big spaces allowed Conor [Gallagher] and Kai to get in.
“First half I thought we probably could have had another couple of goals, but not easy because of how they defend – they’re so good. But overall really happy with the performance.”
Chelsea created so many chances in the first and could have gone up three goals up. With Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang and Kai Havertz came close to scoring but were denied by Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Kohn.
Asked if he (Graham Potter) was satisfied with Chelsea’s first-half performance against Salzburg, Graham Potter said: “It’s not easy to create chances against this team because defensively they are so intense and aggressive. I thought we did create some good chances from good play. We’ve had a lot of games and a little bit of disruption in terms of some key players missing, but credit to the boys they’ve responded really well.
“They’ve picked up points in the Premier League and to go through as we have in the Champions League is a fantastic effort from everybody. We will take steps, it will not be a straight road, unfortunately. But we will take steps and tonight was one I think.”
On whether he was concerned about Chelsea wasting chances in the first half against Salzburg, he added: “I can’t comment on anything before I was here. All I can say is it’s good that we create chances and perform well. Then you back the quality of the players that the more they get there, the more chances we create, then the quality will come through. So it’s not so much of a concern.”