Graham Potter admitted Chelsea’s comprehensive FA Cup defeat at Manchester City was “painful” and not good enough as his four-month reign as manager suffered another setback at the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea fans booed their team off at half-time and full time and also chanted for the former manager Thomas Tuchel and the former owner Roman Abramovich as they endured a fifth defeat in seven matches.
The visitors were 3-0 down by half-time as Pep Guardiola’s team cruised into a fourth-round home tie against Oxford or Arsenal.
“The first half was painful and tough for us all,” the Chelsea manager said. “We were second best to a very, very good side. We are not in a great moment and even though it was a cagey first 20 minutes we couldn’t attack the backline well enough, we couldn’t attack as well as we would like. Manchester City are very good at stopping you doing that but at the same time we struggled.
“In terms of the Premier League we have lost four matches – to Newcastle away, when we had nine players unavailable, we lost 1-0 to Arsenal, we lost on a bad day to Brighton and we lost to Manchester City. We have also drawn to Manchester United and Brentford so the results in a small space of time aren’t positive.
“You can make excuses and look for reasons or say it isn’t good enough. Both of those answers are correct. We have to keep improving and stick together because clearly we are suffering as a football club and it’s not nice at all. But that’s where we are at the moment.”
The former Brighton manager accepted the criticism and the chants that came from the away section. “You understand the supporters’ frustration, we respect that,” he said. “There are always other opinions and negativity and criticism because the results haven’t been positive. That’s part of the job and part of the challenge.”
Potter has pleaded for time at Chelsea, comparing his situation to Guardiola’s first season at the Etihad Stadium, and the City manager insisted it had to be granted.
Guardiola said: “I would say to Todd Boehly, ‘Give him time’. I know in the big clubs the results are important but I would say give him time. What he has done in Brighton was outstanding, but all managers need time. We needed time in my first season.
“It wasn’t the same in Barcelona because I had Messi there. That’s why I didn’t need two seasons, only one season. To play City when we are at this level is not easy. Not just for Graham or Chelsea but for every team.”
The Football Association, meanwhile, has condemned the chants of “Chelsea rent boys” from some Manchester City fans during the game.
An FA spokesperson said: “We strongly condemn the use of the term ‘rent boy’ and we are determined to drive it out of our game. We continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as the UK Football Policing Unit, in relation to the use of this term. Part of our work in this area has been to provide the relevant authorities with impact statements from LGBTQ+ supporters, detailing how chants of this nature affects their experience and feeling of inclusion at football matches, so that a clearer stance and understanding on the chant can be established.
“We stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and we are striving to ensure our game is a safe environment for all, which truly embraces diversity and challenges hateful conduct both on and off the pitch.”
City said in a statement: “Manchester City strongly condemns the behaviour of a minority of fans who engaged in discriminatory chanting at today’s match. We are proud to celebrate inclusivity in football and ask all fans to join us in creating a positive environment and atmosphere, where everyone is welcomed, accepted and has a fantastic matchday experience.”