Potter dealt another blow as Silva is out for six weeks
THIAGO SILVA suffered knee ligament damage against Tottenham which could see the Chelsea defender sidelined until after the international break in another major setback for manager Graham Potter. Scans on Monday revealed the extent of the injury that forced the 38-year-old centre back off during Sunday’s 2-0 defeat. Chelsea did not confirm how long Silva would need to recover, as that will be determined by his rehab process and how he responds to treatment. However, initial expectations are that he could be out for up to six weeks. Chelsea will be without a key defender in a pivotal week for Potter. The Blues host Leeds in the Premier League on Saturday and then Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, two games which are key to the manager’s future.
If Silva were unavailable for six weeks it would also rule him out of Chelsea’s matches against Leicester and Everton before the international break and four more games at the start of April. Wesley Fofana replaced Silva at Spurs with the Frenchman’s recent return to fitness looking timely. Kalidou Koulibaly is also available along with January signing Benoit Badiashile. Chelsea also have several full backs who have deputised at centre back in the past. Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta warned Potter yesterday that support from club owners counts for nothing unless results improve. ‘In the end you have to win matches because you know that, if the run continues, it is unsustainable,’ Arteta said. Chelsea have kept faith with Potter despite two wins in 15 games, a run which has left them 26 points behind leaders Arsenal. Potter cited Arteta as an example of how keeping faith with a manager can pay dividends. Arteta faced calls for him to be sacked last season, but tonight Arsenal can move five points clear at the top of the Premier League with victory at home to Everton.
The Gunners manager revealed he sought assurance from the Arsenal hierarchy, saying ‘they were really supportive’, but knew only positive results could keep him in a job. ‘The environment starts to get better (when you win games), everybody is more confident and you can keep going. We depend on results unfortunately,’ he said. Arteta urged Potter not to let abuse and bad results ‘destroy his life’. ‘This job is so demanding,’ he added. ‘Of course you empathise because you know how it is when he is going through those moments.’