Salzburg Spoil Potter's First Game In Charge As Chelsea Held To Nervy Draw  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 1 Salzburg 1

Salzburg scoreNew manager Graham Potter got his Chelsea tenure off to a nervy start as Raheem Sterling's opener was cancelled out by Noah Okafor to hold the Blues to a 1-1 draw against RB Salzburg at Stamford Bridge.

The result will do little to ease pressure on Chelsea's Champions League Group E campaign, as they remain rooted to the foot of the four-team standings after two games played with a severely dented chance of progressing to the competition's knockout phases.

Chelsea opened their European crusade with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb last week, prompting the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, as he paid the ultimate price for failing to share the new ownership's long-term vision for Chelsea's future.

Potter, enjoying his first taste of top-level European club competition, admitted to having never before attending a Champions League match during his official unveiling on Tuesday, let alone occupying top seat in the dugout during one.

Sterling claimed the first goal of the Potter era to put Chelsea ahead in the 48th minute, collecting Mason Mount's low cross from the right which was poorly defended by Salzburg.

The unmarked forward was afforded ample time and space to measure a shot, before cooly bending an effort into the bottom right corner from just inside the 18-yard box - a move that will be admired by England boss Gareth Southgate, with Reece James also involved.

But Salzburg equalised with 15 minutes remaining through top scorer Okafor after Thiago Silva was guilty of diving in to a tackle, allowing substitute Junior Adamu to deliver a dangerous low cross. Okafor then applied a first-time finish with the aid of a slight deflection off Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea undoing characteristic of below-par season

Chelsea were back in action after the Premier League's weekend hiatus due to The Queen's death, but could not atone for last week's damaging loss at Zagreb.

Ahead of kick-off in west London, two Chelsea pensioners laid wreaths on the pitch, while Potter emerged from the tunnel wearing a respectful black suit and tie and thanked home supporters for the warm welcome, before the ground fell silent in memory of The Queen.

The Blues, improved in their approach, can still rectify their situation to reach the round of 32, but will likely need to beat AC Milan home and away in their back-to-back matches with the Italians in October.

James and Sterling were both sporadically effective in wide positions, but problems remained down the spine of the team, revealing many of the same concerns that dogged performances under Tuchel this term.

In forward areas, Chelsea lacked the fluidity needed to create service for the lonely figure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who again did little to affect the course of the game on his home debut.

Potter: Pleased with application; result frustrating

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter said:

"Frustrated with just the one point. I enjoyed how the players went about their work tonight. I thought we got Raheem into some good 1v1 situations. Our response was good to conceding.

"But we needed a second goal and it didn't come. We're disappointed with the one point.

"They gave everything. I was very proud of how they acted. It's not been easy for them either. A change of coach and all that comes with that. They've acted professionally, honestly and taken responsibility. Effort was 100 per cent there.

"I thought we got Raheem into some good situations and scored a good goal. We can improve as well. But how the boys approached the game, I'm really happy.

"Whatever you do there is always a plus and minus., We're at home, we wanted to be on front foot. It's not the position we want to be in - it's a tough group - but there's enough quality in the team and in the squad that we can respond.

"We understand the demands of this football club. I believe in environment and culture. But I understand we have to win as well. We're at the start of a process as a group of staff and players. I want to make this team competitive and a team supporters are proud of."

Chelsea's remaining Champions League fixtures

October 5: AC Milan (H) - kick-off 8pm

October 11: AC Milan (A) - kick-off 8pm

October 25: RB Salzburg (A) - kick-off 5.45pm

November 2: Dinamo Zagreb (H) - kick-off 8pm

UEFA Official Team Sheet


Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicueta (c) (Ziyech 81), James, Silva, Cucurella, Mount, Kovacic (Gallagher 81), Jorginho, Sterling (Pulisic 84), Aubameyang (Broja 66), Havertz (Loftus-Cheek 66)
Subs Not Used Bettinelli, Chalobah, Fofana, Koulibaly, Chilwell, Chukwuemeka, Zakaria
Booked James
Goals Sterling 48

Salzburg Kohn, Ulmer (c), Bernardo, Pavlovic, Dedic, Kjaergaard (Gourna-Douath 46), Seiwald, Capaldo, Sucic Kameri 70), Sesko (Adamu 70), Okafor (Koita 85)
Subs Not Used Mantl, Walke, Baidoo, Piatkowski, Van Der Brempt, Diarra, Simic
Booked Pavlovic, Adamu, Ulmer, Capaldo
Goals Okafor 75

Attendance 39,978

Referee Ivan Kruzliak (Slovakia)

VAR Tomasz Kwiatkowski (Poland)