Graham Potter Opens Up on Joao Felix’s Debut As Chelsea Problems Pile Up

Graham Potter Opens Up on Joao Felix’s Debut As Chelsea Problems Pile Up

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:22 PM
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  • Graham Potter has leapt to the defence of Joao Felix after the striker was sent off on debut
  • Felix was thrown into the starting XI against Fulham but did not last past the hour mark
  • The striker showed glimpses of his talent but Chelsea are now without him for three games

Graham Potter's short reign as Chelsea boss went from bad to worse on Thursday, January 12, after his side went 2-1 down to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Joao Felix made his debut for the Blues barely 24 hours after sealing a loan move from Atletico Madrid. The 22-year-old made an instant impact in the first half, but was shown a straight red card in the second half.

Joao Felix, Graham Potter, Chelsea, red card, Fulham
Joao Felix walks off off the pitch after being red-carded on January 12 during Chelsea's match against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Photo by Craig Mercer.
Source: Getty Images

It was a bitter turn of events for Chelsea and Potter, who are clutching at straws at the moment.

Felix was brought in as a stop-gap measure to solve the Blues' problems in front of goal and as cover for Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic, who are facing long periods out with injury.

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The Portuguese star started brightly, with his mazy runs drawing fouls from Fulham players.

Chelsea seemed to have a hold of the game with Felix getting a couple of shots on target. However, the London side fell behind courtesy of their former player, Willian deflecting an effort on goal.

Bright first half for Felix

The 2021 Champions League winners began the second half brightly, with Kalidou Koulibaly restoring parity. The momentum was on Chelsea's side as they pressed on for a second goal, only to be handed a numerical disadvantage.

Felix was given his marching orders after he went studs up on a challenge on Fulham's full-back Kenny Tete. There weren't many complaints as he trod off the pitch.

Speaking after the game, Potter defended the new star but admitted the red card was another blow to the club's lamentable fortunes of late.

"It was a forwards tackle; there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red... The hits keep coming at the moment. He was really good; you could see his quality in the game, so it is doubly disappointing for us," he said as quoted by Goal.

Felix now faces a ban of three games. Potter might have to recall Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the interim, who he has used sparingly in recent weeks.

Felix's excelled despite booking

Sports Brief has also reported that Felix was one of Chelsea’s better players on Thursday, January 12, despite getting sent off in the 58th minute.

Barely 24 hours after the Portuguese was confirmed as a Blues player on loan for the remainder of the season, he was already integrated into the squad by coach Potter.

Former Chelsea man, Willian gave the home side the lead in the first half, before defender, Kalidou Koulibaly equalised in the second period.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
Graham Potter