Chelsea manager Graham Potter praised the Blues’ reaction to a poor run prior to the World Cup as they eased past Bournemouth 2-0 on Tuesday to end a five-game winless streak in the Premier League. Kai Havertz and Mason Mount struck inside the first 24 minutes to get Chelsea back in the hunt for a place in next season’s Champions League. Victory took Chelsea up to eighth and within six points of the top four. “You have to use breaks as best you can,” Potter told Amazon Prime. “Evaluate and reassess and get injured players back. We used it as best we could even with players coming back at different times.”
However, victory came at a cost as defender Reece James limped off on his return from the knee injury which kept him out of England’s World Cup campaign.
James cruised through the first half but called for a substitution early in the second and looked disconsolate as he pointed to his knee before going to ground.
“You can see his quality. It’s a blow for us,” added Potter. “I’m not sure on the state of the injury. It’s too early to say.”
Potter, aiming to avoid overseeing a fourth consecutive Chelsea league defeat for the first time since 1998, handed Denis Zakaria his Premier League debut.
The Swiss midfielder broke forward well to drive Chelsea up the pitch in the first half, while the effervescent attacking duo of Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic led the Bournemouth defence on a merry dance.
Sterling provided the opener with an incisive low cross to the back post where Havertz slid in to convert in the 16th minute.
Mount doubled the lead with a well-taken drive from the edge of the box as Chelsea stepped up another gear before Pulisic had another goal disallowed for a foul by Havertz in the build-up.
After three games in all competitions without scoring a goal, the Blues were determined to end their disappointing streak and get their season back on track.
Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers did well to deny James after a dynamic burst forward, then made an even better save to foil Sterling before the break to keep his team in the game.
Havertz fired wide and Mount forced Travers into a smart low stop as Chelsea tried to put the game out of sight.
In the end they didn’t need to as Bournemouth failed to threaten other than Jaidon Anthony’s late free-kick that was beaten away by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
“We won’t be measured on games at Chelsea,” said Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil.
“You need everything to go for you. The response to being 2-0 down, they showed incredible belief we could get something from the game.”
A fifth defeat in six league games leaves Bournemouth just three points above the relegation zone.