LONDON – Chelsea manager Graham Potter was left to rue poor defending in the 2-2 Premier League draw at home to Everton on Saturday that set back the Blues’ revival from their dramatic slump in form.
The London side created a string of chances but failed to convert before the break. They seemed to be on their way to another three points when they went 1-0 up in the 52nd minute after on-loan Portugal attacker Joao Felix’s shot hit a post and went in.
But Everton levelled 17 minutes later when Abdoulaye Doucoure headed home after a corner that was headed back across the Chelsea box by James Tarkowski.
Chelsea went back in front after a Kai Havertz penalty only for Everton substitute Ellis Simms to hold off Kalidou Koulibaly and blast home the equaliser in the 89th minute.
“Ultimately, the first goal is really disappointing from a set-piece perspective. We talked about that before the game. And then the second goal, we haven’t attacked well enough and then exposed ourselves to a big space to defend and we haven’t done it well enough,” Potter said.
“When you look at how much we put into the game, how much we tried to attack, to be cheap with the goals we conceded is frustrating.”
The draw left Chelsea in 10th spot in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur who occupy the last of the four Champions League qualifying spots, although they have played one game less than their north London rivals.
Potter said he was encouraged by the overall performance despite the setbacks of the two Everton equalisers.
“I think results-wise, it’s a step back because we wanted to win. But performance-wise, it’s a step forward. There was a lot of good in the game. We attacked well,” he said.
Speculation was rife a month ago that Potter’s days at Stamford Bridge were numbered after a run of only two wins in 15 league matches. But three wins in a row – two in the Premier League and one in the Champions League, which earned them a quarter-final against Real Madrid – had eased some of the pressure.
Potter hoped that Wesley Fofana, who was substituted two minutes before Everton’s equaliser, had suffered nothing more than cramp. The defender was named in the France senior squad for the first time last week.
Meanwhile, Everton boss Sean Dyche said his side’s “mentality is improving all the time”, adding: “We’re beginning to find a way of not being so disappointed.
“A goal goes in, well, it’s gone. We’ll talk about it the next day, not while the game is going on.” REUTERS