Brighton boss Graham Potter hailed the “exciting appointment” of Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, but he will be out to spoil the party on Saturday.
The Seagulls will provide Gerrard’s first opposition since leaving Rangers and taking over from Dean Smith when they travel to Villa Park.
“I think he’s done really, really well,” said Potter. “It’s not easy when you’re a top player – I imagine because I wasn’t one myself – like Steven was, to take the step into coaching and management.
“Just because you’ve been a top, top player doesn’t automatically mean you are going to be a top manager, you have go through a process and you have to be brave enough to do that. I think that’s what he’s done.
“He took good steps (coaching) at Liverpool and then did a fantastic job at Rangers, winning the league there and gaining that experience.
“In my opinion the top players have the potential to be the top managers and Steven is on that path. It’s an exciting appointment.”
While Villa Park will be buzzing for the new manager’s first game in charge, Potter does not expect Gerrard to wave a magic wand and immediately turn around their fortunes after five straight defeats.
“He’s only had a couple of days so it would be unfair to say you’re going to see the Rangers team of three years of Steven Gerrard in two sessions with Aston Villa,” added Potter.
“There might be slight changes but it would be unfair to Steven and his guys, they are not going to fix the world in that time. From our perspective we don’t know for sure but that’s the same with any football match.
“You often see that you get a response in terms of a new voice, a fresh face, and obviously when it’s someone of the calibre of Steven it gives everyone a lift.
“We can’t control that. We’ve got to focus on ourselves. It’s a good challenge for us as well.”
As Gerrard takes charge of Villa for the first time, the match will be Potter’s 100th at the Brighton helm.
“Not necessarily from my perspective but as a collective it’s a nice number,” he said.
“It’s not something I’ve given too much thought to, but in this world we’re in, where managers change quite quickly and it’s quite turbulent, the spirit’s really good in the team and the club so we’re happy – but there’s always room to improve.”
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