Potter ‘needs 24 to 48 hours’ to know James injury fate; praises ‘really important’ Mount

Chelsea boss Graham Potter says he will know more about Reece James’ injury in the next “24 to 48 hours” after he hobbled off during the win against AC Milan.

The Blues picked up a valuable 2-0 victory in Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday to move top of Group E.

The victory extended Potter’s unbeaten run in charge to five games following his appointment as Thomas Tuchel’s replacement.

Chelsea and Potter were helped by an early red card to Fikayo Tomori, who was sent off after fouling Mason Mount in the Milan penalty area.

Jorginho converted the spot-kick to give his side the lead before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it 2-0 before the break.

“To come here and win is not easy,” Potter told BT Sport. “Credit to the players. They were really good.

“We had a bit of luck with the opposition going down to 10 men. Overall the performance was good. It’s nice to keep a clean sheet and to come away with three points is fantastic.”

On the red card, Potter said: “It’s hard from where I’m sitting. It looks like he had his hand on him and Mason Mount was through on goal. I need to look again clearly.

“It’s nice for the penalty and nice for Jorginho to score. It was a nice move to lead to it. It is what it is. Sometimes they go for you.

“It’s tricky. You want to control the game but not to be too passive. With the atmosphere here, one action can result in a goal, the stadium erupts and they feel like they have an extra man.”

Potter added: “To get a penalty and then a red card is a big moment. Everybody would agree with that as it changes the game in terms of what Milan want to do.

“We have to make it count and it isn’t easy playing against ten men here. Any action can lead to a goal and then the crowd are so into the game again. So it’s difficult.

“It was a big moment but I felt we could do enough 11 vs 11. But the referee has made a decision and we have to get on with it.”

Potter waxed lyrical about Mount, who put in another top performance and has shown why he, Tuchel, Frank Lampard and Gareth Southgate have put so much faith in him.

“He’s really important,” the Blues head coach said. “He was on a yellow card and he’s played a lot of football so at half-time we gave him a breather.

“He was fantastic. He was a constant threat. I’ve been really pleased with him from the start. He’s a really important player.”

Aubameyang, who has scored three goals under Potter, received praise from the former Brighton boss, who says he will only improve.

“We haven’t done anything special with him, it’s all down to him,” Potter said on the ex-Arsenal captain.

“He’s been building his fitness up. He had a difficult summer but the stronger he gets and the more we understand him and he understands us, the better he will be.”

England right-back James was forced to come off injured midway through the second half, leaving Potter and Three Lions boss Southgate sweating with the World Cup just around the corner.

“We’re hoping he’ll be ok,” Potter said. “We’ll need 24 to 48 hours. We’ll know more after that.”

Mount is delighted to be working for Potter, telling BT Sport: “I feel good. I’m enjoying it and we’re playing well and scoring goals.

“Hopefully next I get a goal. It’s been coming but I haven’t finished it off yet. I’ll take the assists, setting up goals for my team-mates.”

“It’s been brilliant [playing under Potter]. You can see the way we’ve played. We’re an attacking threat going forward and solid at the back.

“We’re obviously going in the right direction and I hope it continues.”

On what Potter has changed with him, Mount added: “Not too much, just trying to get in the box and connect midfield to the strikers and be free.

“It’s been happening for me in the last couple of games – I want more.”

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