- Cucurella has struggled since summer move
- Potter labelled Spaniard a "top player"
- Attributed poor form to "family" matters
WHAT HAPPENED? The Spaniard moved to west London in the summer in a record move for a full-back. So far this season, though, Cucurella is yet to live up to his £63m ($78m) fee, and has failed to start any of Chelsea's last three matches. Potter, who also made the switch from Brighton a month later, labelled the 24-year-old a "top player" and put his recent performances down to other external factors.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I think it’s been a challenge for him [Cucurella]," Potter said in a press conference. "He’s had some things off the pitch as well, family-wise there have been some things that have been difficult for hm. So there are many factors. Sometimes people just see the guy on the pitch and they have a verdict for him. But there are all sorts of things going on in his life. I know Marc well and I know Marc at his best. He is a top player.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Looking ahead to Chelsea's crunch match against Liverpool on Saturday - which could see the introduction of £89m ($110.3m) new boy Mykhailo Mudryk - Potter defended his managerial adversary. Jurgen Klopp will be leading his team out for the 1,000th time in his career, although will be aiming to avoid a third straight league defeat which would see the Reds slip below their West London counterparts.
"No matter who you are – and we’re talking about one of the best teams the Premier League has seen, and one of the best managers the Premier League has seen – if you have injuries you have problems," Potter said of Klopp. "It amazes me that people say the Premier League is the best league in the world and then I’m asked if it’s a surprise someone is struggling. That’s what it is. Jurgen is a fantastic guy and manager. They’ll fix it and come through their struggles. Then we all know their quality.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:
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WHAT NEXT FOR CUCURELLA? After a period away from the first team, the Spaniard will be looking to make an impact against Liverpool on Saturday, either as a starter or from the bench.