Chelsea manager Graham Potter said his team will “accept the struggles” but come back stronger after Joe Willock’s stunning goal for Newcastle United condemned it to a third straight Premier League defeat on Saturday.
Potter went nine matches unbeaten in all competitions after leaving Brighton & Hove Albion to replace Thomas Tuchel in September but Chelsea’s season has unravelled since, having fallen to four defeats in its last five games.
Chelsea slipped to eighth in the league standings, level on 21 points with seventh-placed Brighton but having played a game more, and sits eight points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth after its final fixture before the World Cup break.
“It’s not nice for us, we’re in a bad moment. We have to lick our wounds,” Potter told Sky Sports. “We’ll use the break to recharge and regroup and go again.
“There won’t be many of us - a lot of the guys go away - but those that remain will work and go again. We’ve had an incredibly tough period and there have been a lot of positives, but a few negatives as well and a lot of learning.
“It’s been an intense period. Sometimes you have to accept the struggles that you’ve had and then move forward. In the end it’s about regrouping and starting again in the second half of the season, there’s a long way to go.”
Chelsea has been hampered by injuries to key players, with England full backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell as well as France midfielder N’Golo Kante all missing the World Cup in Qatar and facing lengthy spells on the sidelines.
Scoring goals has also been a problem for Potter’s side, having netted three times in its last five games in all competitions, with forwards Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both struggling since their moves to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea returns to action when it hosts Bournemouth in the league on Dec. 27.