Graham Potter has a decent start but is a clear symbol of Chelsea’s new culture

Graham Potter has a decent start but is a clear symbol of Chelsea’s new culture

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Welcome, then, Mr. Blue Sky. As for the grand entrances, in the long history of conquering the stage … well, this was really neither. Instead, Graham Potter’s first appearance as Chelsea manager was a reflection of Graham Potter’s character, Graham Potter’s energy, Graham Potter’s trial.

Chelsea took a point at home against RB Salzburg and were solid, at room temperature, slightly encouraging in energy levels. But really, of course, it was an entrance. Did we get one? Guy.

Related: Graham Potter came out frustrated in Chelsea’s first game after Salzburg’s draw

Stamford Bridge was a slimy place at kick-off, soothed by a power ballad playlist that charted a middle ground between “stadium” and respectful.

There were union flags and a God Save The Queen chorus (cool: old school) from both ends. And finally Potter came out, shaking hands, becoming gentle, bending down a little. No waves, no performances, nothing he really said, “I’m actually new here, you know.” As for the grand entrances, this was the managerial equivalent of grabbing the lunch tray and sitting in the empty seat in front of the teachers.

Instead Potter stood there, comfortably, in his rectangle, dressed in a black suit and a tight black tie, looking a little at the wedding guest the next morning. He made a small gesture. He applauded. He yelled at Mateo Kovacic. But basically it looked like Graham Potter was unexpectedly watching a football game. If no one really cheered or chanted his name, then Chelsea fans are loyal to their coaches, but also demanding in bestowing their favors. What will they do with Graham? How is this going to play out?

Not least because Potter is clearly intended as an expression of the new club culture, whatever it is. Todd Boehly’s billionaire brother will be fascinating to watch and it’s always wrong to judge too early. Even if you sometimes wonder.

It seemed significant that Boehly took a look at the Red Bull union during his brain talk session in New York this week. It seems he wants to create something of the multi-club model for Chelsea. Either that or he just looked at who they play next, he googled and came up with an idea. Who knows, maybe next week he’ll get wildly excited about the Crystal Palace model.

Those were strange days for the new blue dawn. Before those public comments this week it was tempting to ask who was recommending Boehly, who was actually explaining football to him. Now at least the answer is clear. Nobody. Nobody is doing it.

Fans chanted the name of former manager Thomas Tuchel after 21 minutes

Fans chanted the name of former manager Thomas Tuchel after 21 minutes Photograph: David Klein / Reuters

The best kind of spin you can give to his various ideas, the All-Star game, the new mini-league at the bottom, is something along the lines of, hey, the boy is a disruptor. Trust the great beast, the Rainmaker.

But in reality this was nonsense. Even if these are really his ideas, and even if they turn out to be outsider strokes of genius, talking about them in public is now ridiculously naive.

Do you really want to peek into a Zoom screen in a cardigan offering sad and pale apologies? You can do things for English football. But you have to come with a smile and speak well as you wield the blade.

Related: Erling Haaland pursues the former club as Manchester City overtake Dortmund

A good thing about Potter: it is undoubtedly a clear break with the past, with the feeling that it represents something; that pledging your loyalty to Graham, giving him a five or even seven year contract (why not a 20 year contract?) is showing seriousness, moral fiber. This is a good optic, a good brand.

And it is to be hoped that everyone around here will give him time. You can see what the objections might be. If the results were to go wrong for too long, people would say he was overrated, that he is a runaway Nigel Adkins, a Southgate Southgate. Can you take the step forward? Will people who don’t give you time really give them some time?

He picked a reasonable team here. And Chelsea have been the best team for most of this game. They seemed quite anxious, they didn’t have periods when the levels went down or the transition became erratic. Three minutes into the second half took the lead with Raheem Sterling. It comes from a turnover and a quick break, a goal to purr in the video room.

After that: not much. An impatient push to possess the right was enough for Salzburg. Thiago Silva was pulled out of the center and committed a terrible wrong thrust. César Azpilicueta does not come close to Noah Okafor, who makes the ball slip home. Potter looked sad and shook his head. There was a kind of manifestation, if not quite a sense of verve.

This team has been worse than that. This team was also world champion recently. No doubt we are traveling here, following a process; it’s probably best not to take too long.

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