Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has told Chelsea owner Todd Boehly he must give Graham Potter time to implement his ideas at Stamford Bridge after his side beat the Blues for the second time in four days.
After Thursday’s 1-0 Premier League victory in the capital left Chelsea in 10th place.
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring with a brilliant free-kick ahead of a Julian Alvarez penalty, and Phil Foden made it 3-0 before half-time, with Mahrez finishing off the action with another penalty in the second half.
The half-time whistle was greeted by boos from traveling fans, and in the second half Chelsea supporters chanted the name of former owner Roman Abramovich and Potter’s predecessor Thomas Tuchel as they recalled happier times.
But Guardiola, who had praised Potter when he was at Brighton, urged Chelsea to stick to their man.
“I would say to Todd Boehly, give him time,” said Guardiola. “I know results are important at big clubs, but I would say give him time.
“The other half is what he is. What he did at Brighton is brilliant but… we need time in the first season. I had (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona in my first season, so I didn’t need two seasons because Messi was there.
Chelsea did not take a shot in what Potter described as “painful” in the first half, not even threatening Stefan Ortega’s goal until Mason Mount’s 54th-minute shot was deflected wide
He could point to an ongoing injury that ruled nine players out of the game and led to teenager Bashir Humphreys’ debut in the senior defence, but Potter has accepted that Chelsea fans need to see more.
“The results in the short term are not positive,” he said. “You can make excuses and look for reasons or say it’s not good enough. Both of these answers are correct.
“We have to improve and stick together because we are clearly suffering as a football club and that is not nice at all. But at the moment we are.
“There is nothing we can do but do our job better and work harder. You understand the frustration of the fans, we respect that. But our job is to do our job and keep working. “
At least Chelsea are not set to face City again until they return here in the league in May.
“This opponent is probably the worst opponent you can play against when things aren’t going too well because they can make you look like you’re not running or trying because their positional structure is brilliant,” added Potter.
“They use the full width of the pitch, they keep the ball, they make it difficult to put pressure on them. I work with players, I don’t understand people with a bad attitude.
“Everyone wants to try and do better. I think there is support in the locker room. We just go through a bad moment and sometimes when you have moments like that you need someone or something to blame but we have to stick together and keep working.
Mahrez has struggled for form at the start of this season but has shown signs he is almost back to his best form – and has certainly thrived against Chelsea this season, scoring four goals in three games.
“Quality from Riyad is everything,” said Guardiola. “He loves to play soccer. He helped us stop the game with a fantastic free-kick. He played a great match…
“Riyad is a fantastic player in the big games, I know how important he is… Since we came back, he’s been playing really, really well.”