Graham Potter- Chelsea boss says mental health suffered after email abuse

Warning: This article references issues readers may find upsetting

Chelsea boss Graham Potter says his mental health has suffered after he and his family received anonymous abuse following the club’s poor run of form.

The Blues have won just two of their past 14 games in all competitions and lost to Premier League strugglers Southampton last Saturday.

Chelsea say they are offering their full support to Potter and his family, while Chelsea Supporters’ Trust stated it is “appalled” and “support any subsequent investigation”.

“I’ve had some not particularly nice emails come through, that want me to die,” Potter said.

“That’s obviously not pleasant to receive.

The former Brighton boss said the anonymous emails had also referenced his family.

Under Potter, who was appointed in September following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea have won just nine of their 25 games.

“You could ask my family how life has been for me and for them. It’s been not pleasant at all,” Potter added.

“If you go to work and somebody’s swearing abuse at you, it’s not going to be pleasant.

“You can answer it two ways. I could say I don’t care, but you know I’m lying. Everyone cares what people think, because we’re hardwired to be socially connected.”

Chelsea say they are offering Potter and his family whatever support they need but that it is a personal matter.

Speaking before Sunday’s Premier League game against Tottenham, Potter said: “With the results as they are, you accept criticism.

“That’s not to say it’s easy at all. Your family life suffers, your mental health suffers, your personality – it is hard.”

Potter acknowledged that fans were “entitled to be angry” with recent results, but he said he would not be undone by the abuse.

“Life is tough for lots of people,” he said.

“You ask me is it hard, I say yes it is hard. You suffer. You get upset. When you’re in private, you show real emotion with your family.

“But the world is tough. We’re going through an energy crisis, a cost of living crisis. People are striking every other week. No one wants to hear about the poor old Premier League manager.”

The Blues are currently 10th in the league, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham who have played one game more.

“The actions of these individuals are disgusting, and they do not represent Chelsea FC supporters,” said the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust.

“No manager and their family should be subjected to any threats of this nature – we are deeply disappointed.

“While debate and criticism regarding personnel and performances are part of the game, this must never escalate into abusive behaviour directed at individuals and family members.”

Spurs assistant manager Cristian Stellini, who remains in charge on Sunday as boss Antonio Conte continues to recover from gallbladder surgery, believes Potter is a “great manager”.

“I studied Potter since I arrived here because he was a manager that was at Brighton last season and I followed Brighton a lot,” Stellini said.

“It surprised me the way they play, the way they changed system many times and the way they were good to challenge with Potter.”

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, help and support is available via BBC Action Line.

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