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Brighton and Hove Albion

It's easy to see why Albion chairman Bloom is so smitten with Graham Potter – Scott McCarthy



If there was a version of Tinder for football chairman seeking a new manager, then Tony Bloom would have been swiping right as soon as he came across Graham Potter.

Potter’s profile would read something like: Young and upcoming manager, delivered success on a moderate budget, develops and gives opportunities to young players, turns around the careers of other players who aren’t making the most of their talents, favours bold tactics and attacking football. It isn’t hard to see why Bloom would be smitten.

Already, you can see areas there that mark him out as being a world away from Chris Hughton. The first is attacking football. Brighton under Hughton would go away to any other club in the Premier League and try and bore their way to a draw. Sometimes they’d even try and do it at the Amex, often with disastrous consequences. We’re looking at you Southampton, Bournemouth and Cardiff home games.

SEE ALSO ‘The bitterness of Swansea fans makes me excited!’ Brighton fans react to Graham Potter named new manager | Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club: live updates on Chris Hughton’s replacement | New Brighton & Hove Albion boss Graham Potter ready for Premier League challenge | Bloom praises former Brighton boss Hughton after appointment of ‘outstanding candidate’ Potter | Graham Potter reveals summer transfer plans | Potter wants to continue club’s ‘wonderful journey’ | Graham Potter brings the right credentials for success – Ian Hine
Potter on the other hand sends his teams out to win. How else could the manager of Ostersunds – a club the size of Morecambe who were playing in the Swedish equivalent of League Two when he arrived in Scandanavia – come away with Europa League victories from giants like Galatasary, PAOK, Hertha Berlin and Arsenal? Brighton as a Premier League club have never won away at one of the big six; Potter’s done it with a Swedish side whose combined value was the same as some Ikea flatpack furniture and two portions of meatballs.

In four-and-a-half years at the Albion, Hughton gave first team league debuts to a grand total of two academy products. James Tilley was introduced for the final few minutes of a dead rubber away at Middlesbrough on the final day of the 2014-15 season and Rob Hunt was forced on thanks to an injury to Bruno away at Burton Albion two seasons later.

According to the Premier League 2 table, Brighton have the third best development squad in the entire country. It’s better than Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham. We’ve also got the PL2 Player of the Season in our ranks in Aaron Connolly. Bloom has built a state-of-the-art training ground and sunk over £10m into the acquisition of young players.

Yet Hughton trusted the academy for a grand total of 18 minutes of league playing time. In contrast, Potter has turned four Swansea academy products into full Wales internationals this season. Daniel James has scored five goals and registered 15 assists to capture the attentions of Manchester United and Oliver McBunnie has scored 22 times since his promotion from the Swans development squad.

Clearly, the Albion must have some talent in their own ranks. We’ve heard the names of Connolly and Viktor Gyokeres but never seen them in the Premier League. Potter won’t be afraid to trust those sort of players and coax the potential out of them in a way that Hughton wouldn’t.

It’s a similar story when it comes to players not making the most of their potential. Potter’s Ostersunds squad featured a number of players who hadn’t previously made the most of their abilities until he got his hands on them. Curtis Edwards had fallen from Middlesbrough to Northern League football before being revitalised by Potter. It was a similar story for former York City player Jamie Hopcutt before he moved to Sweden.

Aside from the second half of the season collapse, Brighton’s 2018-19 season has been defined by big money players underperforming. We’re looking at you Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jurgen Locadia. Florin Andone hasn’t exactly been great either. What Bloom has found in Potter is a man with a proven record of extracting the best out of failing players, and there were a lot of those in the Albion squad last year.

It all sounds rather promising doesn’t it? At least on paper anyway. What Potter will need more than anything else is time to stamp his own mark and ideas on a squad who haven’t lived up to their talents for six months. And time is the one commodity that most Premier League managers don’t have.

Bloom isn’t most owners though. He will appreciate the size of the task facing Potter and give him the backing and time he needs to make a difference. The big question is will supporters? Brighton fans have become somewhat inpatient over recent years, not helped by having an entire generation of supporters who have known only success since they began supporting the club.

It doesn’t take much for fans to turn. A run of defeats, Dale Stephens passing to Maty Ryan to build from the back as Potter will want, Yves Bissouma or whoever next season’s golden child is not starting and people might want Potter out before he’s even started.

Which will be a shame as Potter ticks so many boxes. Bloom’s got the man he wanted. Is he the right one? We’ll know more at Christmas. Let’s hope it’s a match.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Neal Maupay: Championship or Premier League…It does not matter to me, I will always score goals



Neal Maupay insists he is finding his rhythm and his best is still to come after his impressive display against Burnley at the Amex last Saturday.

Maupay scored his second goal of the season with a clever finish to open the scoring during a 1-1 draw with Burnley. The Frenchman, who joined for £16m from Brentford during the summer, was a menace to the visitors defence throughout with his movement and eye for goal.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world,” said Maupay. “I scored goals in the championship and I know I can score goals here too. I have a lot of belief in my quality and I’m still trying to find my best rhythm and my best position on the pitch.

“I am discovering a new team, new teammates and new manager. It is not always easy, I didn’t play a full preseason so I’m not at my best yet.

“It was the first time I played together with Glenn (Murray). We were trying to find the connection together, so we need to work on that. It was good with him, he knows exactly what is happening on the pitch. He has got quality and it helps me having him by my side.

“I have always played through the centre but I need to adapt to the team. If I need to play wide, I will do it without a problem. If you want to help the team, you got to do what the manager wants. That is what I do.

“Even if I think my best position is striker, if I need to be on the right side of the pitch, left wing, midfield, anywhere…you just got to play and do your best.”

Maupay ended a physical match against Burnley nursing a cut head and face after a clash with Ashley Westwood. Stud marks were clearly visible on the Albion striker’s face as he spoke about the physicality of the Premier League compared to the Championship.

“It is quicker in the Premier. Every player plays quicker and knows what they are going to do with the ball quicker. That is the main difference for me. But as a striker I know I will get chances and I know I will score goals, so it does not really matter if it’s Championship or Premier.

“The physicality is no different for me. The defenders in the championship are big as well, so I’m used to it.”

Brighton have not won at the Amex since they beat Huddersfield on March 2. Graham Potter’s men were close to ending that run until Burnley’s Jeff Hendricks popped up with a late equaliser. It was tough on Albion but they were punished for failing to convert a number of decent chances. The fact Brighton had not won at home for so long was a stat Maupay was unaware of until he was told by a reporter in the mixed zone after the match.

“We can’t focus on that,” he said. “We need to focus as a team and how we can get better. It will come, we have the right mindset and we are working hard. It was not today but if we keep playing like that it will be very soon.

“We do create opportunities but we can do better. We only scored the one goal today. If we can be more efficient we can score one, two, three goals easily and make games easier for us. But it is just five games since the start of the season. We need to keep working hard and keep believing in our quality.”

It was Maupay’s third Premier League start in succession, and Potter believes he will improve as his match fitness develops. “He struggled a bit towards the start of the game, but that was probably down to the team performance.

“He kept going and that’s what he’s about. He links up well and runs in behind. His finish was a good goal and he’s a good character.

“He’ll improve the more he plays. People forget that he didn’t play any games in pre-season so he’s playing catch up to a certain extent. It was a full match of minutes and he’ll only get stronger and stronger.”

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Hope Powell: Draw against Chelsea will give us confidence for champions Arsenal



Hope Powell took great encouragement from Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea last Sunday to claim a point against one of the top teams in the FA Women’s Super League.

Albion took the lead through Aileen Whelan in the 84th minute and looked on course for a famous win but Adelina Engman’s stoppage-time strike for Chelsea saw the visitors claim a point.

Powell said, “The fact that we conceded in injury time was disappointing, but we’ve got to give Chelsea credit for really coming at us in those last three minutes, and a point is better than losing the game.

“We worked really hard in pre-season on a game plan against sides with Chelsea’s quality, and I thought the players stuck to it well and executed it for most of the game.

“Chelsea are a team that are full of internationals, so we really had to be on our game. The whole team put in a shift today, and I’m very pleased in that sense.”

Albion, who have two points from their opening two matches, are next in league action at reigning champions Arsenal in a fortnight’s time.

“It’s got to give us some confidence heading into the next game,” Powell said. “ We recognise that Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City are above everyone else, but on our day we’ll give it a go and know we’ll have to be at our very best to get a result.

“We have some experience under our belts in this league now, and all the players are putting in the work to do better than last season.

“We’ve still only been in this league for one season, and we have to recognise the demands of what’s required.

“If you’re not at the races, then you will get punished very quickly. We have taken some big knocks already at this level, but the focus is always on the next game.”

Brighton: Walsh, Lundorf Skovsen, Williams, Kerkdijk, Gibbons, Le Garrec (Simpkins 85) Bowman, Connolly, Brazil, Umotong (Green, 65), Whelan.

Chelsea: Berger, Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson, Reiten, Spence (Bachmannat 65), Ingle (Thorisdottir, 86), Ji, England, Cuthbert (Engman 82)

Referee: Lee Collins

Attendance: 1,352

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton vs Burnley / ‘Potter-Ball’ continues to earn praise but is yet to deliver the results



Brighton manager Graham Potter was disappointed his team failed to take their chances against Sean Dyche’s Burnley but says they are ‘trying and giving everything’.

Brighton failed to capitalise on another good performance after Jeff Hendrick stole the show for Burnley with a last minute belter from 20 yards to earn a 1-1 draw.

Neal Maupay put the Seagulls ahead when his movement in the box earned him a couple of yards of space to swivel and volley Solly March’s cross past away keeper Nick Pope.

Manager Potter said, “Disappointed with the result of course and the manner of the goal so late. I thought the boys put such a lot into the game.

“That’s the Premier League, if you don’t get that second goal or if you don’t kill the teams off then there’s a chance of course, because of the quality of the opposition, that you can concede.”

Brighton’s new expansive style of play – some calling it ‘Potter Ball’ – has earned compliments from Pep Guardiola and has seen some good performances but little in the way of results so far this season.

“It’s the Premier League we have no divine right to just turn up and play our game,” added the Albion head coach.

“I thought overall we had an idea of what we were trying to do and it would have been nice to get the second goal.

“The Premier League is such a challenge in terms of, you play Man City one week and Burnley the next. There’s totally different games and styles.”

The Seagulls haven’t won a game at home since they beat last season’s relegated Huddersfield on March 2. And the next game at the AMEX is against Tottenham on October 5.

“I think the important thing is the supporters see a team that are at least trying and giving everything.

“The supporters have been brilliant with us, the atmosphere, the way they get behind us is fantastic and it goes without saying we’d like to win for them and for ourselves.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche praised Potter’s side but always had faith in his team.

“Second half we didn’t start and they did. Credit to them, I thought they were the better side second half.

“The good thing with me being here a long time and working with this group is we have always shown a strong mentality and a strong jaw. I thought the thing I always believe in is we can find a chance. “

Sean Dyche was full of praise for his inspired substitutions, specifically Brighton heart-breaker, Jeff Hendrick.

“That’s all we can ask when we make substitution, is they come on with that will and desire to affect the game and that was actually what was missing second half.

“It’s a fine strike. That’s a top draw strike.

“He’s a top lad around the place. He’s a very good player in my opinion and he’s scored a very good goal today.”

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