Raheem Sterling continued his excellent goal-scoring form as a Chelsea player after scoring his first Champions League goal for Chelsea against RB Salzburg at Stamford Bridge.
Graham Potter’s first game as a Chelsea manager and first Champions game did not go as planned, as the 47-year-old was frustrated by stubborn RB Salzburg on his Chelsea debut as a Chelsea manager.
Sterling gave Chelsea the lead three minutes after the break with a beautiful curl. The Austrian Champions equalized in the 75th minute through Noah Okafor.
Graham Potter, after the game, explained that he started with a 3-4-3 with Raheem Sterling and Reece James as the wing-backs.
What did Graham Potter say?
Asked to explain his tactics for the match, Graham Potter said: “It was a back three as far as I was concerned with Reece and Raheem giving us the width.
“Salzburg are very strong in the middle with their 4-3-1-2, so it’s not easy to play through the middle of the pitch. We wanted to get some dangerous width, and Reece and Raheem were that.
“They were more full-backs in the lateral positions and then midfield players. I thought we got Raheem into some good situations and Reece as well down that side. Mason, too, and we scored a good goal.
“Then they defended well, blocked, and their goalkeeper made some good saves. We can improve as well, but like I said, how the boys approached the game, I am really, really happy.’
“Potter was subsequently asked if playing Sterling as a wing-back came with risk, as well as reward, and he replied: ‘Well, there is that possibility, but you have to organize around that as you don’t want Raheem really defending in his box too often, and I don’t think he did.
“I think Marc Cucurella managed the situation quite well. I can’t remember too many opportunities they had down that side.
“Whatever you do, there’s always a plus and a minus, but we were at home, and we wanted to be on the front foot and get some attacking ideas in those positions.
“Raheem is really good at attacking a back line and scored a fantastic goal. I thought he was really good at the game. Reece balances it off a little bit, and we can still defend in a four if we need to, so that was the thinking.”
Meanwhile, Thierry Henry claims Raheem Sterling was unhappy with Graham Potter when he was substituted.
The French and Arsenal Legend said to CBS Sports: “all noticed, and we were like, ‘it’s early and everything.
“Foremost, I don’t know why he took Sterling off because he scored and you know he could score another goal.
“It’ll be interesting to see how he’s going to deal with that tomorrow morning because he [Sterling] didn’t look happy.
“Maybe we’re going a bit too much into it, but when they showed him on the bench, I think I wouldn’t have liked to come out after [scoring] a goal, let’s see how he’s going to deal with that one.”