Chelsea manager Graham Potter explained that his emotions got the better of him when Kai Havertz stepped up to retake his penalty in their 2 – 0 win over Borussia Dortmund.
The under-fire German attacker scored a penalty in the 53rd minute that proved to be the winner of the tie for Chelsea when they welcomed Borussia Dortmund to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixture.
The German Bundesliga side came into the game with more confidence and a 1 – 0 aggregate scoreline but the atmosphere in London proved too much for them to handle.
In the end, they lost their first game of 2023, a run which ended at 10 matches, while simultaneously bowing out of the Champions League this season.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, still finding his feet and his place in the squad after a long spell of the sidelines with injury and Havertz gave the 2020/21 winners a shot at the 2022/23 title. Potter was excited and relieved about the outcome of the match, just as his players and the fans were.
Having failed to win a single game since the turn of the year, they secured their first win over the weekend. They built on that momentum to take on a rampaging Dortmund and come away with a result that could be the most important of their season.
Potter’s nerves were particularly on edge as Havertz stepped up to take the potentially game-winning penalty. After his first attempt was ruled out due to encroachment, the former Brighton and Hove Albion manager did not watch the retake, hiding his head in his hands and fearing the worst.
“After the first one, I thought I’d sit down and listen to the crowd. I wasn’t watching it but delighted when I heard the roar,” Potter told BT Sport after the game.
“Taking penalties is not for me, so I am in awe of anybody [who does].”
The Chelsea boss also continued to speak on the mindset of the team before, during and after the game. “There is a lot of emotion in the end. It was tense in the end but the boys played fantastic. I am delighted for them to get the win and great for everyone here,” he said.
“There was a fantastic feeling in the dressing room. We have been through a tough period and this competition means a lot for us. We wanted to progress and get into the last eight and it sets us up for the next few weeks.
“We have to recover and prepare for Saturday when we play Leicester. It is great for the boys, two clean sheets after a tough period. You get that in life and it is about how you respond and the players have been fantastic.
“It was important we put pressure on them and get the crowd with us. It is not easy to do because they are a top team playing with confidence.
“Credit to the players they gave everything and over the two games I thought we deserved to go through.”
Potter will now hope his good fortune continues as they travel to struggling Leicester City over the weekend for another round of Premier League action.