‘They gave the manager too many sweets and he didn’t know which to pick’: Gary Neville likens Todd Boehly’s Chelsea reign to ‘kids in a sweet shop’ after the sacking of Graham Potter as he hits out at the ‘CHAOTIC’ approach of new Blues owners
- Potter became Chelsea’s second managerial casualty of the season on Sunday
- The ex-Brighton boss was backed with £323m worth of new signings in January
- Neville believes Chelsea’s approach at board level is ‘a little bit all over the shop’
Gary Neville believes Chelsea’s new owners are running the club like ‘kids in a sweet shop’ after Graham Potter became their second managerial casualty of the season on Sunday night.
Potter was dismissed as Blues head coach after just seven months in charge, paying the price for a miserable run of form which saw them claim a mere four wins from 16 matches and drop into the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Little over 10 months into their Stamford Bridge reign, co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have already dropped the axe on two first-team bosses, with Potter replacing the sacked Thomas Tuchel in September.
Both managers lost their jobs after receiving unprecedented backing in the transfer market; Tuchel was afforded £248million worth of new signings last summer, before Potter was given a £323million war-chest in January – more than the combined outlay in Serie A, LaLiga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
A 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Saturday proved the final nail in Potter’s coffin, nevertheless, and Neville admits his tenure ‘didn’t look right’ in the end.
Gary Neville says Todd Boehly (right) and Co are running Chelsea ‘like kids in a sweet shop’
The Blues parted company with Graham Potter (pictured) after seven months on Sunday night
Neville admits Potter’s tenure ‘didn’t look right’ by the time he was sacked at the weekend
He said when discussing the sacking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football: ‘Ordinarily, having been an owner, when you go to sack a manager it’s not based upon the last 24 hours or the last result, it’s based upon a feeling that’s obviously been coming over the last weeks and months.
‘I would have thought if they were getting to that situation and that mindset then they would have done that before international break to give them some sort of time.
‘That result on Saturday I think has just shocked them and obviously to be fair they’ve not expected it. They thought going into the Liverpool game they’d have three points against Villa at home, and that one if you like has just rocked them back and Graham Potter has suffered because of that.
‘But I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody [as] it just didn’t look right. At this moment in time if you look at the ownership; it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t look right and usually when those things happen it’s not right.’
After forking out close to £600million on transfers already, Boehly and Eghbali will be desperate to ensure the next appointment is the right one for their desired long-term project at Chelsea.
Former Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann is among the leading contenders to replace Potter, while the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Luis Enrique are also understood to be in the frame.
However, Neville fears the club’s approach at board level is currently ‘a little bit all over the shop’.
‘His [Potter’s] record wasn’t great, the alignment of what the owners talk about in a long term project,’ he continued.
Potter was afforded £323m worth of new signings by Boehly in January, including £105m Enzo Fernandez (pictured)
Neville says Potter was given ‘too many sweets and claims ‘he didn’t know what ones to pick’
‘Start of season they had Tuchel, they brought in [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, they brought in [Raheem] Sterling, they brought in [Kalidou] Koulibaly who were obviously more experienced players, then they obviously flip-flopped and went to a longer-term manager, brought in loads of young players on eight-year deals and spent £600m.
‘They are a little bit all over the shop. I described them as chaotic at the start of season, I’m not changing my mind. It is a little bit like Football Manager, the kids in a sweet shop, and the fact of the matter is they gave the manager too many sweets and he didn’t know what ones to pick, and it was a case of being a bit of a mess in the end.
‘That decision [to sack Potter] is to somehow try and resurrect something from this season. It would be very Chelsea to go and win Champions League from a position like this if you were thinking about the Abramovich era, it’s whether Boehly and his era is going to bring that same type of performance.’