Graham Potter has revealed he has received death threats, but the Chelsea head coach insists it has not rocked him as he aims to turn the club’s results around.
Potter is under mounting pressure at Stamford Bridge following last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to the Premier League’s bottom side Southampton.
His team, who sit 10th in the league, have won just twice in their last 14 games and have scored a single goal at home in 2023.
The 47-year-old revealed on Friday in his press conference he had been the subject of email attacks, saying: “As much as I’ve had support I’ve had some not very nice emails that have come through that want me to die and want my kids to die, so obviously that’s not pleasant to receive.
“The challenge for me is, ‘OK, how do I conduct myself?’ That’s what I always turn round to. The higher you go, the more pressure you have on how you are as a person. I want to succeed here. There is this nonsense that I don’t care. Where does that come from? Where’s your evidence on that?
“If you go to work and somebody’s swearing abuse at you, it’s not going to be pleasant. You can answer it two ways. I could say I don’t care, but you know I’m lying. Everyone cares what people think, because we’re hardwired to be socially connected.
“Ask my family how life has been for me and for them. It’s been not pleasant at all. I understand supporters go home and they’re annoyed because the team aren’t winning but, I assure you, my life for the last three, four months has been fairly average, apart from the fact I’m really grateful for this experience.”
Speaking about the death threats ahead of Sunday’s game at Tottenham, live on Sky Sports, he told Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves: “You just have to put it aside, and thankfully it’s an isolated incident and it could come from anywhere. It’s just one of those things.
Asked whether it has rocked him, he responded: “Not really. It’s just a throwaway line, I think. I don’t give it any more weight than that.
“It’s not pleasant and it’s not pleasant for the family. You accept the criticism, you accept to be booed if you lose a game, you accept whatever comes your way absolutely.
“Of course there’s a line but I wouldn’t be the first person in life where the line’s been crossed and maybe in this instance it has been crossed.”
In his five months in charge of Chelsea, Potter has drawn criticism for his laid-back image and perceived lack of passion on the sidelines.
Asked whether he is unhappy with the assumption that he does not care and lacks anger, he told Sky Sports: “Yes I am, but at the same time I also know that people have an opinion based on what they see, and what they see is a very small portion of me, my personality, of how I act and of how I’ve got to this point.
“If people think you can just go from the ninth tier of English football via the fourth tier of Swedish football and climb your way up the pyramid and end up here with uncaring, unpassionate and unemotional personality then maybe they should try it themselves and see how they get on.”
Questioned whether he ever loses his temper and gets stuck into players if needed, he responded: “Yes, but I do it in a way that I think is respectful to them and at the right time.
“Anyone can get angry but it’s about getting angry at the right time, in the right place, with the right person. I think you’ve got to do what’s right for the team and the club.
“The anger’s there. The feeling’s there. If I was a bit egotistic and a bit selfish, maybe it would come out a bit more. But I think that actually part of the job is to put yourself second and to think about the team and the club, and that’s what I’ve done in all of my jobs and it’s served me well.
“You can criticise that but I’ve come from a place where I know where I’ve started, I know where I am now, I know the teams and people that I’ve worked with.
“We could do a little montage of people that would probably provide me with a good decent reference from my work that I’ve done and they’ll also say that I’m not as I’m perceived.
“People are perceived a certain way and that’s fine, no problem.”