“Graham Potter must be thinking when is his luck going to change.”

Ex-Chelsea forward Joe Cole said what many of the club’s fans and even Potter himself will be thinking.

A horrendous run of form, unhappy supporters, an increasingly lengthy injury list and now their star new signing is suspended for three games after being sent off on his debut.

Chelsea, European champions a year and a half ago, are 10th in the Premier League after losing 2-1 to west London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage – and once again the Blues were the architects of their own downfall.

Portugal winger Joao Felix had looked Chelsea’s best player and been at the heart of their best attacking moments before he lunged and caught Fulham defender Kenny Tete on the shin and was shown a straight red card.

Chelsea's Joao Felix tackles Fulham's Tete and is sent off on his Premier League debut
Joao Felix became the first Chelsea player to be sent off on his Premier League debut for his tackle on Tete

‘The hits keep coming’

“Joao was having a fantastic impact and now to lose him for three games is really disappointing,” said Potter.

“He didn’t want to hurt anybody and it’s a football action that can happen.

“It’s where we are in terms of things that can happen for us. It is another blow, the hits keep coming at the moment. We are suffering.

“It was a forward’s tackle, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. He was really good, you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us.”

Chelsea had been the better team but fell behind when teenage full-back Lewis Hall and central defender Trevoh Chalobah both failed to clear the ball and ex-Chelsea man Willian scored with a deflected shot.

But Potter’s side equalised within two minutes of the second half as Kalidou Koulibaly reacted quickest after Mason Mount’s free-kick had hit the post, and Chelsea looked on top.

But the advantage did not last long as Joao Felix, who only joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, was sent off before the hour mark, with Carlos Vinicius heading in a 72nd-minute winner for the hosts.

‘Moments are going against Potter’

An Opta chalkboard graphic showing Joao Felix attempted six shots (purple circles) with four on target (green lines), one blocked (blue line) and one off target (red line). He had two successful dribbles (triangles) and won four fouls (pentagons).
In the second half Joao Felix attempted six shots (purple circles) with four on target (green lines), one blocked (blue line) and one off target (red line). He had two successful dribbles (triangles) and won four fouls (pentagons).

“That red card moment changed the game,” added Cole. “Joao Felix was brilliant – I saw enough in his 59 minutes to know he’s going to be a good signing for Chelsea.

“It is hard when you’re down to 10 in the Premier League because you’re getting overloaded in different areas of the pitch.

“Moments are going against Graham Potter and something has to change. They need a fluky win or goal to bring confidence back into the side.”

Potter said he was satisfied with his side’s performance, but this had been another missed opportunity to claim a much-needed win.

He said: “I think we controlled the game early, won the ball back high, created some opportunities, maybe missed the last pass. We made a couple of mistakes for their goal.

“Second half I think we responded well and then the red card changes the game. Makes it a little more difficult for us, I thought the application when we went down to 10 was really good.

“I’m disappointed with the goal because I think we could do better and that is what cost us.

“We have got to keep working. There is no other solution – you have to keep working, stay together and try to get the three points.”

Zakaria adds to Chelsea’s injury worries

Another worry for Potter is Chelsea’s injury problems, with midfielder Denis Zakaria, on loan from Juventus, limping off early in the second half, with Chelsea unsure as to how serious the injury is.

But it is potentially another player joining an injury list that includes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (hand), defenders Ben Chilwell (hamstring), Reece James (leg) and Wesley Fofana (knee), midfielders N’Golo Kante (hamstring) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (calf), and forwards Raheem Sterling (muscle injury), Christian Pulisic (knee) and Armando Broja (cruciate ligament).



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