Chelsea boss Graham Potter has insisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had ‘done nothing wrong’ after the striker flew to Milan as the Blues played against Fulham.
Aubameyang has been left out of the club’s Champions League squad for the remainder of the season and has not been included in the matchday squad for Friday night’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
The 33-year-old boarded a plane for Italy after being told he would not be involved in the match, which ended in a scoreless stalemate with January signing Mykhailo Mudryk at half-time, while record-breaking £106.8million arrival Enzo Fernandez impressed.
Fernandez was one of three new signings added to Chelsea’s European squad at the expense of Aubabeyang, ahead of the first leg of their last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.
However, rather than being a reaction to the behavior of the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker, Potter insisted the decision was all about the numbers.
“He’s a professional,” Potter said.
“I understand that he will be disappointed. It was a tough call. Pierre is just unhappy and he will fight for his place for the rest of the season.
“Whatever decision we made, there would always be a conversation about it. It was my decision. You have to make those calls. He didn’t do anything wrong at all.
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“I have a responsibility to articulate those decisions as well as possible to the player. He did very well, he trained fantastically today.
Fernandez, who signed in the final hours before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, was heavily involved in the Fulham clash but was unable to provide the spark his new side needed to unlock the Cottagers.
The former Benfica midfielder came close to a late win for Chelsea when his first snap effort curled just beyond goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s reach and tumbled away from the post.
“I think he did beautifully,” Potter said of Fernandez.
“You could see his quality, see what he would bring to the team. It wasn’t easy for him or for us because he hasn’t been with us for so long. But I’m excited with him.
“I think we’ve had a lot of positivity and good feelings, certainly from the start of the game, and the crowd helped that. Within the team, there was a good feeling.
“I agree that we haven’t done enough in terms of attacking play to create more, which we need to do.
“That bit of connection, that fluidity and that understanding, we probably lacked a bit, which is understandable when we have players coming back from injury and new players in the squad. That’s just where we’re at for the moment.
“In the Premier League against organized defensive units, you are always on your toes. Some positives from us, I thought the effort was there, the spirit was there. But as an offensive team, we would like to do more.
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