Graham Potter has revealed that he never even attended a Champions League match before taking control of Chelsea for the first time.
Potter’s Chelsea debut will also be his nod to the Champions League with Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday at the Stamford Bridge at the Blues Stadium.
The 47-year-old admitted he has come closest to the best club competition in Europe so far to watch the action on TV.
Potter last week called the move from Brighton to Chelsea a “whirlwind” as the English coach replaced Thomas Tuchel at the head of the Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s new owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali decided to remove Tuchel from their mandate after a 100-day review of their embryonic tenure at the Blues, and Potter signed a five-year contract and steadfast, long-term support.
Potter admitted that the opportunity was too attractive to give up, and the Solihull-born coach is impressed with Chelsea’s new owners.
When asked if he had participated in a Champions League match before, Potter replied: “Out of the top of the head, I don’t think so. But this is a good time for me to enter the dormitory.
“My experience in the Champions League is at the fan level. But of course I experienced the Europa League from Ostersund by winning Galatasaray and going through the group stage.
“Wherever we start it would be a goddamn introduction, wherever we start it would be brilliant so why not start here?
“You have to look at the club’s tradition, quality, size and ambition. This is a completely different challenge to the one I had in Brighton.
“I spent three fantastic years there, but I am very grateful to the owners here for the trust they have placed in me.”
Chelsea sacked Tuchel on Wednesday last week in the morning following a punitive Champions League loss of 1-0 to Dinamo Zagreb.
The departure of the popular German boss Tuchel was not directly related to the results, and the new owners of Chelsea wanted to move in a new strategic direction.
Boehly and Eghbali are confident that they will work with Potter in the long run and respect his people and people management skills.
Potter was appointed head of Chelsea on Thursday afternoon, and the Queen’s subsequent death clearly overshadowed his appointment.
Potter led Brighton to a 5-2 victory over Leicester in his final game, Seagulls on September 4, and the former Ostersund boss admitted the final days were over.
“It’s nine days, but it feels like nine weeks or nine months,” Potter said. “The beauty of football is that you never know what’s lurking around the corner.
“It all happened very quickly, with a lot of intense conversation. Chelsea owners are good people, intelligent people who want to achieve something here.
“It’s a really exciting project and they have some great ideas on how to lead the club forward. It was really positive.
“It was a hurricane, meeting people, leaving Brighton, meeting the players. So far it has been very, very positive.
“It was one of those days when in 20, 30, 40 years everyone will know where they were when it happened. And it will certainly be easy for me to answer. It was a seismic day for me on many levels.
“Without the silly sound, I guess I was the main news and then I didn’t become the news at all.
“When the Queen passed away, you started to think about your own life, and for me it was my mom and dad’s childhood memories, many of them revolving around royal events. It just shows how unchanging she has been. “
Potter reworked the entire Ostersund setup, leading a small club from Sweden’s fourth tier to the Europa League in 2011-2018.
The new Blues boss may be unproven at the highest level, but insisted there was no greater risk in accepting the Stamford Bridge challenge than when he made his way to Sweden.
“If we cross the street, there is a risk – that’s what life is,” Potter said. “I left England at the age of 30 and joined a club that has been firing a manager for four years every year. I left my safe job and my wife quit her business.
“Now I’m here 17 years later and I think I have taken some careful steps in my career. Life is about getting outside your comfort zone, taking responsibility and believing that there is more to us than now.
“When I went to Sweden, I was working in the ninth league of English football. There was down, a few more levels, then there was me. I never planned to sit on this level.
“But while ambition is good, responsibility is better. And it is my duty to do my best at every level. “