Chelsea’s debut under Graham Potter is marred by familiar issues, as the Blues drop more Champions League points.

Think about Thomas Tuchel if he was seeing his old flame with their new beau. Loads of possession, elegant build-up, and plenty of widths, but no shots or goals to match? He’d been delivering it at Stamford Bridge for months.

So, Graham Potter’s first game in charge ended much like Tuchel’s last act, with a late barrage of shots not enough to save a day in which Chelsea failed to make the most of the sun. Following the defeat at Dinamo Zagreb, the team drew 1-1 at home against Red Bull Salzburg.

It will be some time before the new manager can contemplate matching his predecessor’s Champions League triumph in his first year. For the time being, he must consider leaving the group.

To do so, he must address the issues that plagued Tuchel from the start of his Chelsea tenure until the end. For all of the stars, Chelsea has at their disposal, getting good shots on goal is extremely difficult.The hosts did not surpass Salzburg’s three shots on goal until Hakim Ziyech volleyed straight at goal in the third minute of added time.

The hosts completed more than three times as many passes as the Austrians in the first half, with Reece James and Raheem Sterling alone having one fewer touch in the attacking third than Salzburg’s 54. They converted their dominance into zero shots on goal and 0.55 expected goals (xG).

Seventy percent of the ball and 1.01 xG at the final whistle was a meager but familiar return, and Potter is concerned about a number of holdovers. Mason Mount is still without a goal this season, but it should be noted that he appeared at ease with the defensive responsibilities that were placed on him in a deeper role.

Kai Havertz appears to have unlimited talent, but he requires the most finely tuned systems to exploit it. Perhaps most concerning was the fact that Chelsea only appeared to have pace in behind when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was replaced by Armando Broja.

Nonetheless, every manager is allowed to make mistakes early in his career. After all, Tuchel’s tenure began with the dismissal of Mount, the most emblematic of Frank Lampard’s players, but the England international was soon in his coach’s good graces. And Potter may reflect that his system did a good job of keeping Salzburg out of the goal until a clever move into space down the left in the 75th minute. Even after that, experienced defenders like Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta could and usually will perform better than they did in allowing Noah Okafor to score.

Meanwhile, while the shooting statistics do not stand out, the numbers attacking the box in the first half suggested that this team might become more aggressive. They will still use possession to protect themselves against counter-attacks at the back, but with a slightly looser leash, a little more freedom to get up and stay up the pitch.

The change was most noticeable on the left flank, where Raheem Sterling was lined up. In theory, he was the left wing-back, but no one at Stamford Bridge would mistake him for Ashley Cole in his prime. No tackles, no clearances, no interceptions, three of 11 duels won: this would be a disastrous night for many in his position.

The statistics that mattered most to Sterling were his eight touches in the penalty area, two shots, and, most importantly, the 48th-minute strike that put Chelsea ahead. He stood out as the player you would trust with a big chance on this night, so it was odd at times that the 27-year-old attacker was taken out of the game, even though it clearly improved the Blues’ build-up play.

 After the game, he revealed that Potter had tasked him with pinning back young right back Amar Dedic, who rarely advanced beyond the halfway line. This was the danger zone for Salzburg, with Marc Cucurella free to advance from his left center back position and Mateo Kovacic drifting wide.

“I think we dominated with how we played and the chances we created,” Sterling said. “In the end, it was a bad result, but we played some good football at times. I took the risk, but we need to finish the job. We felt in command, but they only had one chance to score.”

It seemed inevitable that more than one goal would be scored in the first half. It happens a lot with Chelsea. The goal is approaching at any moment, just a second, hold on, it will be with you soon. Even if it does arrive, you’ll have to make do with just one.That will not suffice, especially if the defense is not the finely tuned machine Tuchel forged in the spring of 2021.

Tuchel became increasingly obsessed with fixing the defense first last season, as player sales and injuries robbed him of the supremely effective unit that carried his side to Champions League glory. He would lay the groundwork before constructing a palace fit for his attacking abilities. Finally, he was never given the opportunity.In his place, Potter appeared to be attempting something different in the first of many games, attempting to ignite a fire at the front of his team in the hope that it will sweep through any threat his opponent may pose. If that is to work, his forwards must finish far more clinically than his predecessor.