Graham Potter, the manager of Chelsea, believes Kai Havertz‘s magnificent winning goal in the 2-1 victory away at RB Salzburg can help him gain confidence.
With their victory over the Austrian team at the Red Bull Arena, the Blues advanced to the round of 16 of the Champions League. In the 64th minute, Havertz scored his first Chelsea goal from beyond the area, and Potter had nothing but admiration for the Germany international.
“His quality is there; he’s an incredibly talented player," Potter said. "He’s been nearly there and obviously, scoring a goal like that is bound to help. "I wouldn’t be able to score a goal like that to be fair, I can only imagine! It’s a fantastic strike and an indication of the quality he has. So I’m really pleased for him.”
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It comes after a stretch of games in which Havertz came under increasing pressure following his halftime substitution at Aston Villa, followed by criticism for his lack of goal threat in the 0-0 draw with Brentford.
In Salzburg, Potter defended his tactical decisions in using Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic as wingbacks.
“The idea, because of how Red Bull defend, they often give you the opposite space," Potter added. "So if you can get the ball out to someone good in one-vs-one situations, you can have an advantage potential. "But also, it makes them stretch across the pitch and open up games in their very organised line. It worked quite well today and I’m pleased for the boys.”
A home encounter against Dinamo Zagreb the following week is the prize for qualifying on matchday five.
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Despite having a full schedule of games leading up to the World Cup, Potter can rest players now that qualifying has been guaranteed.
“We want to win every game we play, that is the mentality we have to have,” he said. "But clearly, we have a game at the weekend and another game the weekend after, so maybe we can rotate a little bit. But we will try our best.”