Roy Hodgson has risked the wrath of Crystal Palace fans by admitting rivals Brighton are a club heading in the right direction under the management of Graham Potter.
The pair will go head to head on Saturday, with the Eagles determined to claim bragging rights at the AMEX.
While Hodgson and Potter may be at contrasting stages of their careers, they did both start to build a reputation with success in Sweden.
And the 72-year-old has been hugely impressed with the work of the Brighton boss since he moved to England and believes he will continue to guide the Seagulls up the Premier League table.
“I think his work is evident in the teams he has been coaching,” Hodgson said.
“Ostersunds I only ever saw them on the television when they played Arsenal. I remember watching those two matches, but I got to know his team at Swansea and I got to know his team this year Brighton because I follow all those matches quite closely.
“I think he has done a very good job and has a very clear philosophy. He handles himself extremely well and I always like listening to his interviews; he deals with them in the way I would like to think I deal with them.
“With the answers he gives to questions, I feel like giving him a pat on the back and I think he has landed at a club at the right period of time for him and, with (technical director) Dan Ashworth going in there, the club is obviously going forward.
“Brighton have shown that in the three seasons or so since they have been up and they brought him in knowing what they were bringing in and did their research.
“They knew Graham Potter as a football coach and as a person and decided he was the right fit for Brighton. Everything I have seen so far this season would suggest they got it right.”
Potter only moved to the AMEX from Swansea in the summer, but agreed a contract extension in November, such was his impact at the club.
Hodgson is close to agreeing new terms too, revealing on Friday he is set to meet with chairman Steve Parish again next week.
During his first two seasons in charge, the former England boss has kept Palace in the top flight and they are currently nine points above the bottom three.
With more transfer funds available, he would like to ensure supporters are not merely looking to stay up at the beginning of every campaign.
“A lot will depend on what investment we can make in the team. We have not been able to make much over the last few seasons, but we still hope that will change,” Hodgson said.
“I would like to think we could continue to make certain Crystal Palace not only maintain our status as a bona fide Premier League club, but we could continue to improve in that area and make certain our fans don’t go into every season wondering if this will be the one where the axe falls.”
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