Graham Potter concerned about long-term influence of World Cup on player fitness levels

Graham Potter concerned about long-term influence of World Cup on player fitness levels

Chelsea manager, Graham Potter acknowledged that he is unsure of the long-term implications of a winter World Cup on his players’ conditioning.

On December 27, the eighth-placed Blues will play next in the Premier League when they host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

Potter said it would take some time before the tournament’s full effects are known for his team, who lost their previous three games in a row before top-flight play was suspended for the Qatar extravaganza.

He said: “We’ve given all the guys who have been in the World Cup some time off, so they’ve had a bit of a break, time with their families. Obviously it’s not so easy to get the balance right. We’re all learning because it’s never happened before.

“So we don’t know how that’s going to go. I think you’ve got to constantly evaluate the players and assess. Because you might get two or three months down the line and think hang on a minute, we need to do something here, just to refresh, because we don’t know how that’s going to look like, in the future, long-term, the effects of a World Cup.

“Something so big, you know, when you’re watching it you realise how big it is. We all know that. We were speaking before it and because we’re in the middle of a Premier League season, then you watch the World Cup finals you think, wow, this is a massive event.

“And of course it is. So you don’t know how that’s going to play out long-term. So that’s a bit of constant assessment and evaluation, but now we are confident that the guys are where they are, and we can work and we can prepare normally for the games.”

Potter’s players have trickled back into camp, though he is “still waiting” on Croatia’s Mateo Kovacic and Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech, who will not be available for the Bournemouth clash as they remain in recovery mode after reaching the third-place play-off in Qatar.