Chelsea manager Graham Potter could get another four weeks to avoid the sack after leading his side into the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night. Chelsea produced a professional performance against Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge as they overcame a 1-0 first leg deficit to win the tie 2-1 on aggregate.
Chelsea dominated proceedings in west London and went ahead two minutes before half time as Raheem Sterling lashed the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards out. The Blues thought they had taken the lead earlier in the half after Kai Havertz struck from the edge of the area. But that effort was chalked off after Sterling had strayed offside in the build-up.
Fortune appeared to favour the hosts in the capital, and they were awarded a penalty in the early stages of the second period as Ben Chilwell’s cross struck the arms of Marius Wolf. Havertz stepped up to take the kick but saw his effort cannon back off the post before being cleared. However, the Germany international was given a second bite of the cherry following an encroachment. And he made no mistake with his second attempt as he rolled his penalty into the bottom right corner.
Dortmund pushed for an equaliser to force the match into extra-time. But the Blues held firm as they booked their place in the last eight of Europe’s top-tier competition.
Potter has come in for huge criticism this season as his team have suffered a dismal run of form and have fallen 29 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal. The west London giants look set to miss out on Champions League qualification next season and were also knocked out of the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup at the third round stage.
But ex-Chelsea winger Joe Cole believes Tuesday’s result will do wonders for Potter. “Huge, season-defining 45 minutes,” the ex-England star said on BT Sport at half time. “I think Chelsea win tonight and that man there on your screen (Graham Potter) can have another three or four weeks and get the lads at it. It can change his career and also Chelsea’s season.”
And after the final whistle, Cole added: “Outstanding performance from front to back. You get a sense on big nights like these that this can be really pivotal in this team and their development. And that manager, we said before the game that it was a huge, huge game for the club and for Graham Potter.
“And I saw signs of a team emerging there tonight with an outstanding performance, a comfortable 2-0 win against a team in real good form, a really dangerous team.”