Saturday, December 9News That Matters

Graham Potter names Chelsea’s new penalty taker after Jorginho exit

Graham Potter has confirmed Kai Havertz as Chelsea’s first-choice penalty taker after Jorginho’s transfer move to Arsenal in January.

Jorginho joined the Gunners in a £12m deal after four-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, during which 93 per cent of his goals came directly from the spot.

The Italian midfielder converted 27 of the 31 penalties he took for Chelsea in all competitions and became renowned for his hop-and-shoot method.

He is yet to take a penalty for Arsenal, where Bukayo Saka is currently the first-choice taker, while his exit left Potter needing a new player from 12 yards.

The Blues manager settled on £72million signing Havertz ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Dortmund, which could be decided by penalties.

“The players are always practising penalties,” Potter said. “We are prepared for the eventuality and possibility [of a penalty shootout]. We want to win it before that but if not, then we will be prepared to go through in that way. Kai is our penalty taker in the absence of Jorginho.”

Chelsea lost the first leg 1-0 to Dortmund in mid-February, leaving their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals teetering. And UEFA’s decision to remove the away goals rule last campaign has increased the likelihood of extra time & shootouts deciding European ties.

“I think we have to attack better as a team and that’s my responsibility,” Potter said in response to criticism of Havertz.

“It’s too easy to zoom into individuals and blame them. It’s a collective, we have to create more, do better, and that starts with me, helping the team get better chances more chances because then I don’t doubt the quality of the players.”

Turning his attention to Raheem Sterling, Potter said: “His goalscoring record in the Champions League [26 goals in 79 appearances] speaks for itself. He’s an experienced, proven campaigner in that competition.

“So, we’re delighted with that and we’re looking forward to him on the pitch on Tuesday, and hopefully enjoying his football and, and contributing to us winning and going through.

“You can see his quality that he brings and if he’s enjoying his football, he’s a really important player for us and the last two home games [a 1-0 victory over Leeds and a 1-0 defeat by Southampton ], you could see that.”

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