Graham Potter acknowledges that leaving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of Chelsea’s Champions League lineup for the knockout rounds was a “difficult decision.”
Aubameyang and Benoit Badiashile, who joined Chelsea in a £35 million move last month, were not included in the squad.
Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Joao Felix who just joined the club made the squad.
Also, Aubameyang was left off the matchday squad while Badiashile started Chelsea’s 0-0 Premier League tie with Fulham on Friday night, fueling rumors of a falling out with the manager, which Potter denied in his press conference.
“I don’t think it’s going to be difficult because Pierre is a professional,” Potter responded when asked if he anticipated any awkward moments with the striker.
“He’s done nothing wrong at all. Pierre’s just unfortunate. He’ll be fighting for his place for the rest of the season.”
“It was my decision. It was a tough decision. But sometimes you have to make these calls. It’s nothing bad against him.”
“It is difficult, it is tough, because I am empathic so I understand his disappointment, but I’ve got a responsibility which is to have these tough conversations and articulate my decisions as honestly as I can.”
“Everything is up for grabs. He’s got to keep working and train like he did today and be ready to play because football changes quickly. That’s the nature of the game.”
Prior to facing Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 of the Champions League on February 15, Chelsea was only permitted to sign a maximum of three new players.
The maximum roster size for each club is 25, and Chelsea utilized 24 players during the group stage with only Jorginho leaving the team during the January transfer window.
Clubs had until Thursday, February 2 at 11:59 p.m. to tell UEFA of their proposed squad alterations.
Chelsea spent a total of £323.3 million on eight new hires in January. Potter was left with the challenge of choosing three players among Fernandez, Mudryk, Felix, Badiashile, David Datro Fofana, and Noni Madueke. While Malo Gusto remains on loan at Lyon and Andrey Santos is awaiting a work visa.
Chelsea’s 25-man Premier League roster includes Aubameyang in addition to their new additions because there are no limitations on the number of alterations a team can make. The deadline fell on Thursday as well.
Since their 1-0 loss to Arsenal at home on November 6, the 33-year-old has not made an appearance for Chelsea.
He joined the team on Deadline Day of the summer for £10 million from Barcelona, with Marcos Alonso moving the other way. Since then, he has scored three goals for the team.
Chelsea’s Champions League squad as picked By Graham Potter:
Here is the list of players that were included in Chelsea’s Champions League squad by Graham Potter.
- Kepa Arrizabalaga
- Marcus Bettinelli
- Edouard Mendy
- Thiago Silva
- Trevoh Chalobah
- Ben Chilwell
- Reece James
- Kalidou Koulibaly
- Cesar Azpilicueta
- Marc Cucurella
- Wesley Fofana
- Enzo Fernandez
- N’Golo Kante
- Mateo Kovacic
- Christian Pulisic
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek
- Raheem Sterling
- Mason Mount
- Denis Zakaria
- Hakim Ziyech
- Conor Gallagher
- Carney Chukwuemeka
- Charlie Webster*
- Lewis Hall*
- Joao Felix
- Mykhailo Mudryk
- Armando Broja*
- Kai Havertz