Skip to main content

Graham Potter: Players must adapt to hectic Christmas schedule

Brighton boss Graham Potter says his side have no choice but to adapt to the gruelling Christmas schedule.

The Seagulls perhaps have it tougher than most as they have to follow up their lunchtime Boxing Day defeat to Tottenham with another 12.30pm clash on Saturday when they host Bournemouth.

There is no time to work on anything other than recovery and Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, whose side next play on Saturday tea-time, called the scheduling a “crime”.

But Potter accepts they are dictated to by the Premier League, whose primary interest may not be the tiredness of players.

“The Premier League give the clubs a lot of resources so they can demand a certain type of schedule over the Christmas period, so I can understand it from a commercial point of view,” he said.

“I imagine they get a lot of viewers and they can sell the games.

“On the one hand I can understand. On the other hand in terms of performances and maintaining a level it makes it difficult. Again we have to adapt to that, that’s the challenge.

“In terms of being able to select a team and rotate players it is very difficult.

“The scientists and people that know about recovery would say that it is not good.

“But it is the Premier League, it is the schedule, we have to adapt and deal with it. But I have heard Jurgen Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho talk about it and they are all far more experienced than me and I don’t disagree with them.”

This season is the first time the Premier League will have a winter break, though that only constitutes a weekend off in February.

While it may help later in the season, Potter says it is not much use for his players, who face such a quick turnaround during the festive period.

“The winter break is a weekend and it doesn’t change the fact that the question is about 48 hours,” he added.

“It’s OK but it is not the main issue, the main issue is the 26th and 28th games if you want to pick the same players.”

Potter will assess defender Lewis Dunk, who missed the 2-1 defeat at Spurs with illness, while he could bring Davy Propper and Neal Maupay back into the starting XI after they were on the bench on Boxing Day.