'I cannot believe it' - Kai Havertz left baffled by criticism of Chelsea manager Graham Potter as Blues progress to Champions League quarter-finals
- Havertz scored crucial goal in Dortmund win
- Victory relieved pressure on Potter
- German "cannot believe" criticisms of his manager
WHAT HAPPENED? The German was on target - albeit at the second time of asking - as the Blues successfully overturned a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals at Borussia Dortmund's expense. It is the first time Chelsea have recorded back to back wins since October and the first game in 2023 in which they have scored more than one goal. Such stats are endemic of a poor run of form under Potter, which had seen his tenure come under fire, although Kavertz claims such criticism is unjustified.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Of course we know the pressure is coming at home, but you can see that he [Potter] is a big manager, because in the media I cannot believe how many people have to talk to him," the German said after the crucial 2-0 victory. "We have hundreds of coaches in England that think they know better than him! But we know in the changing room that he has a big personality and [is] a big manager for us. He helps us all a lot, myself included. We are 100 per cent behind him, even though people maybe don't see it. But I think today everyone saw that he's a big manager."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Tuesday's result was a redemption not only for Potter but for Havertz as well, in whom the current Chelsea boss has shown continued faith despite a lack of goals in return. The German had scored just once in 12 matches since the turn of the year before Tuesday, having started all but one of them.
It looked like his bad luck would continue on the night when he had a goal chalked off for offside in the first half and struck the post twice, most crucially for his first penalty. But a VAR intervention saved Havertz's blushes, with the Chelsea forward stepping up to convert from twelve yards in a moment he will hope can kick-start his season in front of goal.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR HAVERTZ? Potter will likely turn to the German to lead the line again when Chelsea travel to Leicester in the league on Saturday.