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Graham Potter explains Chelsea rotation after win over Wolverhampton Wanderers

Graham Potter explains Chelsea rotation after win over Wolverhampton Wanderers

Head coach Graham Potter has revealed that a number of Chelsea players were dealing with fitness issues heading into Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

With the match being sandwiched between two crucial Champions League games with AC Milan, Potter had been expected to tinker with the team which defeated the Italian giants on Wednesday night.

However, Potter’s selection was eye-catching due to seven changes being made, as well as taking the decision to switch from a back three to a back four.

As it turned out, the Blues still recorded a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja.

Nevertheless, the rotation was a topic of conversation in Potter’s post-match press conference as he revealed that Thiago Silva and Reece James had been dealing with different fitness issues.

Chelsea's Kai Havertz celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 8, 2022© Reuters

Speaking to reporters, Potter said: “Thiago [Silva] had a heavy cold at the start of the week but played against Milan. Two days to recover is really short for him, so we didn’t want to take the chance there. Ben Chilwell playing three games in a week after recovering from an ACL injury. That wouldn’t have been the smartest thing to do to put him out there, especially when we’ve got Marc Cucurella.

“Reece James had a dead leg that wasn’t fully recovered yesterday, so we wanted to give him a bit of extra time and use him at the back end of the game rather than the start. Obviously, we missed Wesley [Fofana] and Mateo Kovacic, three games in a week for him would’ve been too much as he has been nursing a knee problem. So, again we can use Jorginho and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek].

“Raheem [Sterling] has had a load of football this season, so we thought it would be good for him to have a breather and help us at the back end of the game if we needed him. It’s similar with Auba [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang]. Even though he is in a great moment and forwards rely on rhythm, he hasn’t had that much football previous to coming to Chelsea and has had an injury.”

“It felt like today was a good chance to give him a breather, and if we needed him at the back end of the game, we could’ve used him. That was the thinking process.”

Chelsea now sit in the top four of the Premier League standings with Saturday’s triumph their fourth in five outings in the top flight.

The West Londoners are back in action on Tuesday when they play Milan at San Siro, with the meeting with Aston Villa coming five days later on October 16.

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