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Graham Potter defends Raheem Sterling over poor Chelsea form

Graham Potter has been discussing Raheem Sterling in a recent interview.

Sterling had a bright start to life at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel.

The winger also scored the first goal of the Graham Potter era in the 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg.

However, since then Sterling has failed to score a single goal for the Blues.

Now, speaking after the Manchester United match, Potter has looked to move the blame away from Sterling, suggesting it is a team issue:

“It’s not something we have to zoom in to one person,” Potter told reporters. “As a team, we can do better, and if we do better as a team, then individuals will benefit from that, so that’s where the work is.”

Potter denies that using Sterling at wing-back in three recent matches is part of the problem, he added: “He’s got the flexibility, ability and quality to play in several positions. It’s not straightforward with losing the players we have [to injury].

Potter also spoke about how players might be impacted by the thought of picking up an injury ahead of the World Cup: “I don’t think you can play at this level and be tentative, and I don’t think they are.

“Somewhere subconsciously [they know] there’s a World Cup in three weeks, if we don’t think they are human beings and don’t think about that on some level then I think we’re being a bit naïve.

“I don’t think it affects their performances and they are fully focused, but they are human beings. There’s something in [their heads] about the World Cup.”

He added: “But I guess because of how close it is after the [domestic] games finish.

“Normally you’d have a build-up phase and play some friendlies and have a lot more time. Now though they are going from the competition phase to World Cup group matches within a week.

“So it’s incredible how it is, but we can’t do anything about it, that’s just how it is. And you have to help the players as best you can and make sure they are not in dangerous situations for their own health.”

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Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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