Graham Potter ditches tracksuit in bid to sharpen up Brighton’s performances

Ed Elliot, PA
·3-min read

Under-pressure Brighton boss Graham Potter hopes smartening his attire can help his struggling side sharpen up on the pitch.

Potter ditched his customary club tracksuit in favour of a shirt, tie and tailored overcoat for the first Premier League game of 2021.

Albion marked the occasion by stylishly fighting back from a two-goal half-time deficit to salvage a point from a thrilling 3-3 draw with Wolves.

While the 17th-placed Seagulls remain without a home league win all season and in serious relegation danger, dapper head coach Potter is eager for the new year to represent a fresh start.

He said: “I thought I’d change from my bad tracksuit to my own bad clothes!

“The boys could see me on the side, they look at me in my shocking gear and my terrible haircut and my horrible face and think, ‘well, it’s not too bad out there!’

“I fancied a change, 2021. I am going to be myself, wear my own clothes, I am fine with that.”

Speaking about the significance of Saturday’s comeback and his job security, he added: “We all needed that, that’s how it is.

“I know there is always a narrative around the head coach and it is what it is when you’re not winning, you accept the criticism.

“There’s nothing I can do about that. I can control what I can control, which is how I act, how I work with the players and I will continue to do that.”

After going ahead through Aaron Connolly’s first goal at the Amex Stadium in 15 months, Brighton looked destined for defeat following a Romain Saiss header, Dan Burn’s own goal and a Ruben Neves penalty.

But Neal Maupay sparked life into the hosts by winning and converting a spot-kick within a minute of the restart, before captain Lewis Dunk headed home a deserved equaliser 20 minutes from time.

Potter, whose team have tasted victory just once in 15 top-flight outings, wants the resurgent second-half display to provide impetus in the scrap for survival.

“When you look at the context of the game and you look at how it all panned out, I think it’s a really good point for us,” he said.

“The players feel positive, they feel happy with a point, even though we always want to try and get three.

“At half-time we were suffering, so to come back and get something is all credit to the players; their application, attitude, togetherness, spirit was wonderful.

“Let’s hope it’s a really big moment and we can kick on from here and get some positive results, that’s what we want to do.

“We will keep fighting no matter what, we will keep going and keep doing our best and hope that we can get some three points.”

Albion top scorer Maupay had missed two of his previous four penalties and recently relinquished duties to Pascal Gross.

With Gross an unused substitute, the Frenchman resumed responsibility to slam home from 12 yards, claiming his sixth goal of the campaign and prompting praise from his manager.

“Life is often about big moments and they are often when there has been a setback or it hasn’t gone your way,” said Potter.

“It’s easy when it’s going well, it’s easy when everyone is patting you on the back.

“The challenge of the Premier League is you don’t win as many as you certainly would like, so you have to overcome setback and disappointment and credit to Neal that he could step up.”