Brighton head coach Graham Potter insists his struggling side are producing better performances than they did during their history-making efforts of last season.
Relegation-threatened Albion registered a club-record 41 Premier League points in the 2019-20 campaign but will fail to reach 30 this term based on present form.
At almost the midway point of the season, the Seagulls have taken a paltry 14 points from 18 games – an average of 0.77 per fixture – and are languishing perilously close to the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leeds.
Potter, who succeeded Chris Hughton at the Amex Stadium in May 2019, accepts results must swiftly improve but has been more than satisfied with his team’s displays.
“We have had 18 games and – apart from one and a half games – our performance level has been, I would say, better than at any point last year,” said the former Swansea boss.
“The problem we have had is that we haven’t had the points and the results that follow that.
“You can talk about performance, performance, performance but at the end we know we have to get results. We know we have to get points.
“We have to believe we are on the right path. We are fighting for each other, which is clear, and we keep moving forward.”
Brighton, who scraped past League Two Newport on penalties in the FA Cup third round last weekend, were beaten 1-0 at Manchester City on Wednesday to leave them with just a single top-flight win from their last 16 outings.
The prolonged slump means the Seagulls sit only two points clear of the bottom three, having played two games more than 18th-placed Fulham.
Despite the club’s alarming predicament, Potter says he cannot question the attitude or application of his under-delivering players.
“The spirit has always been there. In terms of turning the corner, it’s about results,” he said.
“But the players give everything. They’re a good group that want to win and play well, and fight for each other.
“That’s all I can ask for as a coach – a team that gives everything and leaves everything on the pitch.
“That’s what we did on Wednesday and what we need to do again on Saturday.”
Leeds – embarrassed by League Two Crawley in the FA Cup on Sunday – currently have a comfortable 11-point cushion on the relegation places following a solid start to life in the top flight after 16 seasons away.
Potter is impressed with the distinctive style of play that United boss Marcelo Bielsa has created at Elland Road.
“It’s unique to them and they do it well. They’ve had that winning feeling from the Championship, so they have belief and confidence in each other and what they are doing,” said Potter.
“That comes from winning football matches. They are a good team that has been really well drilled, well coached, with good spirit. They’ll be a tough game.”