Only winning matters after Chelsea were drawn against Real Madrid| SolSportHQ
Graham Potter insists it is only winning that matters and not the way you are after being handed a Champions League head-to-head with fellow mild-mannered boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Hours after outlining his desire to conquer Europe with an expletive-including declaration, Chelsea and Potter were paired to meet holders Real Madrid in next month’s quarter-finals, the two sides facing each other in the competition for the third season running.
Chelsea could then come up against Manchester City in an all-English semi-final – and what would be a repeat of the 2021 final in Porto won by the Londoners – if Pep Guardiola’s current side can get past his former one Bayern Munich in the last eight.
At a hospitality event for Chelsea members on Thursday night, Potter said on stage, in a clip that went viral: ‘We’ll try and beat Everton [in the Premier League today], take the draw and then we will try and win the f****** Champions League.’
Following that draw in Nyon yesterday, Potter said with a smile: ‘I said we would try to *bleep* win the Champions League! That’s the same for every seven clubs.
‘They will also say that they could lose in the quarter-final because that’s the nature of the Champions League. We’ll focus on Real Madrid when we get there. At the moment, it’s Everton.’
The feeling is excitement but, as I’ve said, I’d rather speak about Everton because that’s the [next] The other stuff is a long way away.’
Having had his understated approach occasionally questioned and compared to more outspoken, animated and occasionally provocative Chelsea managers of the past, Potter’s on-stage rallying cry went down well with supporters.
But when asked about Ancelotti – a six-times winner of the European Cup/Champions League as a player and manager – and his calm, controlled demeanour, Potter said: ‘I can’t be bothered to speak about how people think you should be.’
Carlo Ancelotti should be him, Pep Guardiola should be him and Jurgen should be him and I should be me. I don’t care what you think is my response to that.
‘The simple thing is if you win you can be whoever you want to be and if you lose somebody wants somebody different and that’s the reality.
‘You just have to be yourself, be authentic. Otherwise if you try to act the situation finds you out. He has been himself for the whole of his career and done extremely well.
‘I don’t know him personally. I played against him when he was the coach at Everton. He’s a gentleman.
‘There’s nothing I can say for how much he’s achieved in his career. It’s amazing. The length of time between his first and last Champions League wins – 20 years – it’s incredible.’
Chelsea beat Madrid in the semi-finals en-route to their 2021 triumph but the Spaniards gained some revenge with a dramatic 5-4 aggregate quarter-final win last season.
City and Bayern last met in the competition in 2014/15 group stages. Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann said: ‘If you end up winning the title no one can accuse you of having the luck of the draw.
‘It was PSG [in the last-16], then it would be Manchester City then maybe Real or Chelsea and then in the final either a Portuguese or Italian team. It would be a triumph which would have a high value, one of great mentality and quality.’
AC Milan were drawn against Napoli in an all-Italian quarter final and Inter Milan and Benfica clash in the other last eight tie with the winners of each meeting in the other semi-final in May.