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Graham Potter calls Brighton’s predicament ‘most challenging time’ of his career

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(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Graham Potter admits Brighton’s current predicament represents the most challenging period of his managerial career.

Struggling Albion go into the new year just two points above the drop zone after a miserable 2020 which brought only five Premier League wins from 34 games.

Under-pressure Seagulls boss Potter previously managed Swedish club Ostersund and Championship side Swansea before moving to Sussex to replace Chris Hughton ahead of last season.

Having taken only 13 points from 16 fixtures this term, he acknowledges results have not been good enough and accepts criticism is inevitable.

“If you don’t win football matches, it’s harder to convince people that you are on the right path, and I can understand that,” said Potter.

“We took over a team that finished with 36 points, and we got them to 41 in the first season, changed the playing style, added some younger players.

“But you want to carry on improving and results-wise, as it stands currently, they’re not improved, so therefore you can understand the criticism.

“We’ve got ambition and, if you look at our games this season, we’ve gone into the games believing and having the thought we can win any game. But we haven’t. And if you’re not lucky, you can find yourself in this situation.

“It’s football at the highest level, with it comes pressure, with it comes challenge; challenge isn’t a bad thing – just because it’s the most challenging time of my career doesn’t mean it’s bad.

“I’m really fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to find out about myself and come through a tough period.”

Brighton remain precariously placed after rounding off 2020 with Tuesday’s 1-0 home loss to Arsenal.

That defeat meant the Seagulls – who host Wolves on Saturday – ended the calendar year with a solitary home success from 17 top-flight fixtures, losing eight and drawing eight.

Potter admits the alarming record is indefensible.

“I can’t say anything other than it’s not a nice statistic – there’s no defence,” added Potter. “We don’t like it at all.

“We’ve drawn a lot of games that we feel we should have won.

“If you look at the games we have lost – Manchester United twice, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton and Crystal Palace – we’ve played those teams with no fans, which is of course another factor.

“But the reality of it is we haven’t won enough at home and it isn’t good.

“I accept we want to improve and we need to improve.”

Potter said his New Year’s resolution is to “keep improving”.

He believes Brighton have plenty of lessons to learn from 2020 and urged his players to be courageous as they seek an upturn in fortunes.

“You get to this point and you have to realise that you have to be brave enough to make mistakes, that’s the biggest challenge,” said Potter.

“There is a feeling of vulnerability there, of course, and you need a bit of courage.

“But the only way for us to take the next step is to be brave enough to make those decisions and try those things and make those mistakes because that’s how you improve in life.”