Chelsea boss Graham Potter has embraced the extra pressure he is under at his new club after his first Premier League game in charge of the Blues ended in a late 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
The game looked to be heading for a draw before second-half substitute and former Palace loanee Conor Gallagher scored a 90th-minute winner.
Some might have seen sending on the England midfielder as an inspired decision, but the former Brighton boss seemed more relieved to get the win.
“Pressure and expectation is increased because of Chelsea’s standing in the football hierarchy,” Potter admitted. “That’s what it is but that’s why I took the challenge. That’s why I’m here.
“Regardless of what (the media) asks me and the narrative that comes, I tend to just focus on the job and work with the players and try to help them improve and win.
“Thankfully I’ve gotten off to a decent start but I know there’s a long way ahead.”
Odsonne Edouard put Palace ahead after seven minutes before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened his Chelsea account with a neat finish before half-time.
That looked to be the final score before Gallagher, who was subbed on for Aubameyang in the 78th minute, curled past Vincente Guaita to seal the win.
It was a match that was not without controversy. Chelsea could have gone down to 10 men when Jordan Ayew looked through on goal but Thiago Silva, on the ground with an outstretched arm, appeared to bat the ball away.
He was booked and the play went to a VAR check for a red card but Silva remained on the pitch, and the decision proved costly for the hosts when moments later he set up Aubameyang’s equaliser.
“It was probably a 50-50 one that we’ve come on the right side of,” said Potter.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) October 1, 2022
“I think it’s one that we’ve certainly been fortunate with. I think the fact that it’s quite a way away from the goal probably helps us a bit, and maybe there’s recovering defenders, but I can understand Patrick’s frustration.”
Palace boss Patrick Vieira wavered between refusing to talk about the decision and sheer bewilderment.
“It was tough, it was a difficult game for us,” he said. “I think we did enough to at least get the points, and considering that goal at the end, of course it frustrated the team and myself.
“Regarding the incident with Thiago, I think it’s something I don’t want to talk about. It’s difficult for me to understand it, to accept it, so it’s better sometimes to be really quiet and not talk about it.
“I don’t want to talk about it because I believe the referee got it wrong and if I really say what I think then I would be in trouble, so it’s better for me not to talk about it.”
Vieira also provided injury updates on Joachim Andersen, who was unavailable for the Chelsea clash, and Nathaniel Clyne after he was carried off on a stretcher late in the first half.
“I didn’t have a chance to speak to the doctor yet,” said Vieira. “What I know is (Clyne) went straight away to the hospital.”
Anderson “felt something on his calf” in training on Friday morning and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.