‘Give him time and he’ll be fine’ – Guardiola backs Blues boss Potter

Graham Potter is one of the best managers in the Premier League, and Chelsea will be rewarded for sticking with him, according to Pep Guardiola.

Chelsea face Guardiola’s Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday – a task Potter is unlikely to enjoy given recent results.

After a nine-game unbeaten streak to start his Stamford Bridge reign, Potter lost 4-1 to former club Brighton and Hove Albion last month.

A narrow defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday was a second in a row domestically, and the pressure is already mounting on the manager.

But Guardiola has a high opinion of his counterpart, and he said before they met: “I’m not the right person to say that because it’s none of my business. But if Chelsea accept my humble advice, without intention, give give him time and he will do well.”

The City boss added: “I have a lot of admiration for his work. What he has done at Brighton is more than exceptional, and I’m pretty sure that in time he will do a good job.

“I have no doubts about that. It’s the same with Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton.

“When they start losing games it’s a matter of time. If they are patient he will have an impact in England and he will have it like Graham did in this country.

“He’s one of the best managers, from my point of view, that we have in this league.”

Guardiola will meet another man under pressure on Wednesday as former City star Raheem Sterling returns to the Etihad Stadium with Chelsea.

Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last week but it was just his fifth goal for Chelsea. He scored 17 goals for City last season.

“No, no, I can’t judge,” Guardiola said. “In the case of Oleks [Zinchenko]gaby [Jesus] and Raheem, I want the best.

“So my gratitude to all of them, especially those guys, is huge, huge for what they’ve done for this club. Hats off.

“Thank you very much, and I wish him all the best and hopefully he is happy there.

“I really hope [Sterling gets a good reception]. I always love clubs when they have guys who have been here for many years and have been key figures and important roles in our team for all those years.

“Because you may forget what happened last month, but that’s not a reality [of] what happened in a period of six, seven years he was here.

“He deserves it, of course. The same will happen with Gabi. When the game starts, of course, you want to beat them. But I think in England people appreciate that.”

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