Potter's back-to-back victories expected to provide breathing space

THE NOTEBOOK: Todd Boehly is vindicated for backing Graham Potter as Chelsea boss buys himself time, while Blues won’t be put off by Moises Caicedo’s new Brighton deal

  • Graham Potter watched Chelsea side put in a competent showing on Tuesday
  • The result – as with Saturday’s victory – is likely to alleviate a lot of pressure
  • Chelsea await their quarter-final opponents having beaten Borussia Dortmund

Significant pressure was lifted from the shoulders of Graham Potter as he watched his side put in one of the most coherent performances of his time in charge at Chelsea to advance to the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Potter knew as well as anyone Chelsea could not afford to go out to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.

Met by a cacophony of noise as they entered the pitch 10 minutes after the game was meant to start owing to traffic problems outside the ground, Chelsea’s players did look a group who had given up on the manager. 

They await their quarter-final opponents having made it back-to-back wins, following Saturday’s narrow victory over Leeds on Saturday, for the first time since October.

Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel was at Stamford Bridge and has noted some of the things you might have missed…

Graham Potter was all smiles at the final whistle as his Chelsea side alleviated pressure on his shoulders

The two goalscorers posed for a picture after the game as Chelsea dreamed of more success

Boehly’s backing brings vindication

There would have been a sense of vindication up in Todd Boehly’s plush Stamford Bridge executive box as the final whistle blew last night. The US tycoon has been Graham Potter’s staunchest supporter when other’s around him have been wobbling. Who knows how Boehly and his co-controlling partner Behdad Eghbali would have reacted if Chelsea had lost against Leeds on Saturday and crashed out of the Champions League here. 

It’s nothing he needs to worry about now. Two wins and Boehly’s faith has been rewarded. Barring an almighty capitulation between now and the end of the season, expect Potter to be given breathing space to – at least – see out the season.

High drama marks outset of evening

There was high drama before this Champions League clash had even got underway last night. Firstly, the game started 10 minutes later than the scheduled 8pm kick-off after Borussia Dortumund – who had earlier trained at the £1,000-per-hour Artillery Ground, in Islington – arrived shortly after 7pm after their bus got stuck in rush-hour traffic. 

And then, prior to kick-off, the heavy police presence positioned outside Stamford Bridge sparked into action after Dortmund fans tried storming security barricading amid simmering tensions between both sets of fans ahead of kick-off. Dortmund boss Edin Terzic said of his team’s late arrival: ‘We didn’t know if we would start on time or if there will be a delay to kick off, it is disturbing a lot.’

The game had to be delayed by 10 minutes after Borussia Dortmund were half an hour late getting into the ground

England’s next star appeared in yellow – no, not that one

There was a teenage Englishman on the Borussia Dortmund team-sheet last night who England believe is destined for the top. No – not him. But there is an expectancy that Manchester City academy graduate Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, introduced as a second half substitute, will follow Jude Bellingham into the senior set-up sooner or later. 

The 18-year-old has already made 18 senior appearances for the Bundesliga team and is having his international career meticulously mapped up by those in charge of player development at St George’s Park. The attacker, currently in the Under-19’s, is already on England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley’s radar and is expected to be promoted into the set-up before the close of 2023.

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens is a player England believe is destined for the very top – alongside his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Jude Bellingham

Mount has stars in his eyes

Mason Mount, who missed last night’s clash through injury, has joined the same stable as Chelsea legends Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech after appointing The Sports PR Company to help shape his off field image. The England international is the latest Blues player to assign the London-based firm, led by founder Caroline McAteer, to handle his personal brand management. 

McAteer has successfully influenced the careers of a number of high profile footballers over the past 20 years, with David Beckham, Freddie Ljungberg and Cristiano Ronaldo – and more recently Jack Grealish and Heung-min Son – all benefitting from her expertise.

Reus wants to remain loyal

159 – The number of goals Marco Reus has scored for Borussia Dortmund. The forward’s contract expires at the end of the season with a number of European clubs – including Manchester United – credited with an interest. 

But sources close to the player believe the 33-year-old has his sights firmly transfixed on becoming the club’s all-time record goalscorer with his preference to sign a new deal with the Bundesliga side. Reus is chasing down Alfred Pressier’s 174 goal tally.

Marco Reus wants to remain with Borussia Dortmund beyond this season to try and break the scoring record

Caicedo’s new deal unlikely to dissuade potential suitors

Chelsea transfer target Moises Caicedo signed a new contract at Brighton last week and the Stamford Bridge club have spent the last few days ascertaining how the agreement might impact their interest in the midfielder this summer. 

They have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t, really. It is understood there is no release clause in the Ecuadorian’s new deal meaning the only real change is that Brighton are in a far stronger position to demand the £80million it will cost to lure him away from the Amex. 

The only real question Chelsea have to ask themselves now is whether they go for Caiciedo, Jude Bellingham or Declan Rice. Without Champions League football, moves for Bellingham and Rice maybe a stretch for Chelsea. They’ve already spent close to £600million new players – what’s another £80million on Caicedo?

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