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Chelsea 0-1 Southampton: I'm not the problem, says Graham Potter | Paul Merson: I don't see it changing

Chelsea lost at home to the team that started the day bottom of the Premier League table for the first time since April 2014 vs Sunderland; Graham Potter: "Some people will think I'm the problem. I don't think they're right but that doesn't mean they can't articulate their views"

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter was disappointed but admitted there were 'positives to take' after his side lost 1-0 against Southampton at Stamford Bridge

Graham Potter insists he is "not the problem" despite Chelsea's season sinking to a new and alarming low as they were beaten 1-0 at Stamford Bridge by the Premier League's bottom side Southampton.

A converted free-kick from James Ward-Prowse on the stroke of half-time put the Saints' captain one goal behind David Beckham in the competition's all-time standings, and sent Graham Potter's team to a fourth consecutive winless match in the league.

With five of the club's eight January signings in the starting XI, Potter saw his team labour to find any invention against a Saints side set up by interim boss Ruben Selles to frustrate the hosts' expensively-assembled attacking cavalry. Victory in their first match since the sacking of Nathan Jones was everything they deserved.

"After a 1-0 defeat at home, any criticism you get is understandable," said Potter. "We've had a tough period and lots of challenges in terms of integrating young players in the Premier League.

"When you don't get results, it can be tough. That's how it is. Some people will think I'm the problem. I don't think they're right but that doesn't mean they can't articulate their views.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton's win against Chelsea in the Premier League

"We took a step back in terms of our performance in the first half. The response in the second half was good but not good enough."

Chelsea have scored just once at home in 2023, and the lack of a recognised striker was made painfully apparent yet again.

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When asked if he was still the man for the job, and asked to explain the delay to speak to the media, Potter said: "There's no conspiracy. Sorry, I can't give you that.

Raheem Sterling shoots at goal against Southampton
Image: Raheem Sterling shoots at goal but is denied

"I always come in and speak to you guys and understand the questions. When we've lost 1-0 at home to Southampton, it isn't good enough because of the results we've had recently."

There was yet more worry for Chelsea when Azpilicueta was carried from the field on a stretcher with an oxygen mask after being struck in the head by the boot of Sekou Mara as he attempted to clear.

On Azpilicueta's condition, Potter added: "He's in hospital so he's in the best place. He's conscious and speaking to his wife so that's good. We'll keep monitoring him. We have to take all the precautions now as it was worrying. It was a horrible incident."

Merson: I don't see things changing

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Paul Merson says Chelsea are a team of individuals and does not see their bad run of form stopping anytime soon after defeat at home to Southampton

Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

"First half, Southampton were outstanding. They were closing Chelsea down, the better team in the game, lot more energy, knew what they were doing, scored a very good goal. Second half (Raheem) Sterling came on - different game. He was willing to make runs and he had two good chances both off the line.

"But Southampton worked so hard. When Perraud got one off the line it was like he'd scored a goal. They're cuddling each other. There seemed to be a togetherness. They were all cuddling the manager at the end. They deserved it.

"One is a team. The other is an absolute team of individuals. I've never seen anything like it. The players they've brought in - take away (Enzo) Fernandez because he's a top holding midfield player - are all individual footballers.

Gavin Bazunu denies Cesar Azpilicueta
Image: Gavin Bazunu denies Cesar Azpilicueta

"They all get on the ball and want to beat five or six players and there's no passage of play. It was only when Havertz and Sterling came on that there was a little bit of movement. (Mason) Mount gets eaten up because he passes the ball and the others are all dribbling it, so there's no phases in the game. I was very disappointed. It was poor.

Number of players to make 3+ dribbles in Premier League match on Saturday:

Chelsea - 7
Everton, Brighton, Newcastle - 5
Arsenal, Wolves, Saints, Palace - 3
Leeds, Villa, City, Bournemouth, Liverpool - 2
Fulham, Brentford - 1

"I don't see this stopping. They've bought a lorry load of individuals I'm afraid. It's all dribblers.

"It's only when Havertz comes on a starts playing with Felix and Sterling there are passages of play. I think this is a massive, massive, massive interview now coming up for Graham Potter.

"Chelsea fans will be absolutely fuming. They won't stand for this, oh Southampton have got a new manager so that helped them… they're not worried about that. If you don't beat Southampton at home, their goalkeeper has to be the best player on the pitch. He wasn't."

Selles: I already feel I'm the manager

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Southampton interim boss Ruben Selles said his side showed they can make games tough for any opponent after they won 1-0 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Southampton took the lead in a familiar fashion. Ward-Prowse's free-kick, the 17th he has now scored in the Premier League, could not have been more finely placed, arcing over Chelsea's wall and dropping crisply into the bottom corner beyond Arrizabalaga's despairing dive. Stamford Bridge, quiet until now, made its displeasure known.

Inspiration for Chelsea would not strike and Southampton held on for a deserved win.

"It was a fantastic performance from the team," Selles said.

"We moved liked a unit. We had a solid plan, so I'm happy we gave ourselves the chance to win the game and to perform.

"We knew we would have a few moments in the game. It has been a very difficult year for us. You could see the reaction from the players after the blocks, so I'm very happy for them.

James Ward-Prowse scores a free-kick against Chelsea
Image: James Ward-Prowse scores a free-kick against Chelsea

"I identified with the principles that were there before. It's not about the manager so we used a lot of what was there. The players then put it together with the details we gave them.

"First of all, I am a manager [when asked if he is ready to step up and become manager]. But the second thing, it is not for me [to decide]. We showed what we can do after a fantastic result. I don't think too much about it [the relegation picture]. It's about our performance and how good we can be. Now, we're focused on Leeds. All I know is that if a team beats us, they will have to be very good as we will make it very hard.

"We're a team that shows character and spirit. It was more about the result today as we showed a performance and a standard that we must now continue. In order to become a winner in life, first of all you need to lose and to learn from your losses. It is a process. We don't know what will come next but we will now do all our best to win next week.

"The boys just threw me in! The game is about the players. I didn't want to lead them [the celebrations]. I just wanted to say thank you to the fans for their support."

What's next?

Chelsea's next game is a huge one, with Graham Potter's side travelling to London rivals Tottenham on Sunday February 26, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 1.30pm.

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The Blues then host Leeds on Saturday March 4; kick-off 3pm.

Southampton also have a big game next weekend, with a trip to Leeds - another side that are battling against relegation - on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

Saints then host Grimsby in the FA Cup on Wednesday March 1; kick-off 7.15pm.

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