Graham Potter will lead a Chelsea team into match action for the first time in the biggest club competition of them all, and he has confirmed his excitement at the prospect.
The Blues take on Austrian side RB Salzburg in the Champions League later today and it is an occasion that has the newly appointed Blues head coach recalling European games he has played in the past, as well as looking forward keenly to his first match at Stamford Bridge.
‘Wherever we start, it’s a heck of an introduction,’ Potter noted as he considered the Champions League as his Chelsea commencement.
‘With respect to everything that’s happened at this football club, with the demands of this football club and with where we are in terms of how we’re competing and what we want to achieve, wherever we start is going to be brilliant, and why not start here.’
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While Brighton’s steady rise up the Premier League table under Potter had led to talk about the possibility of European football for the Seagulls, it is to his time in Sweden that he turned for memories of competing overseas, with a knockout stage reached in 2017/18.
‘My experiences have just been as a supporter in terms of Champions League level,’ he said. ‘I have my Europa League experience with Ostersund and going to Galatasaray was a fantastic occasion, winning there, PAOK as well, getting through there. Going through the Europa League groups was a fantastic experience in European football, but this [today’s game] is an amazing evening for all of us and we are really excited for it.
‘At the same time, we’ve been trying to prepare a team, we’ve been trying to focus on the game, getting to know all the players, getting to know everyone at the training ground, but there’s no denying it, we’re really looking forward to it. It’s a fantastic opportunity.’