Chelsea boss highlights Newcastle advantage as 'excuse' for Premier League defeat
Graham Potter explained why he felt Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle United on Saturday evening.
It was a third straight Premier League defeat for Chelsea as they dropped to eighth in the table, nine points behind Newcastle in third. Joe Willock's second half strike proved to be the difference between the sides at St James’s Park.
"It was a tough game for us,” Potter told Match of the Day following the defeat. “Losing Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] and Aspi [Cesar Azpilicueta] at half-time.
"You can see in the two teams the different schedules. Newcastle have one game a week and we have a tough schedule.
"That showed. But there were also too many unforced errors. We got through a few times but we didn't have enough quality.”
Newcastle had three shots on target during the match to Chelsea’s two. Conor Gallagher had The Blues’ best chance of the game as his edge of the box strike was brilliantly tipped away by Nick Pope.
Shortly after, Willock put Newcastle ahead with a similar effort following a charging run from Miguel Almiron.
"In a game of few chances, they got a winner,” Potter added. “We changed things but we didn't have enough. You could see in the first half they were pushing us back.
"We could not get out of the defensive third as much as we would like. So we put on an extra man in the middle of the pitch. Conor had a good shot but then our defensive line was a bit off and we conceded a good finish.
"For different reasons, you have 13 matches in six weeks, a lot of those games away from home. It is what it is and it has been tough, challenging.
"We have a break now and we need to re-energise. For us in terms of what we've had with an incredibly intense period, it is what it is. We need to take the positives. A lot of the boys will be away but we can get away, regroup and go again when we come back.”
The Premier League season will now pause for the World Cup before returning on December 26.