Graham Potter urges Brighton to regroup and secure survival


Albion remain tantalisingly close to securing a fourth successive season in the Premier League.

Brighton boss Graham Potter has urged his players to put their bruised egos to one side and focus on securing Premier League survival at Southampton.

Albion remain tantalisingly close to guaranteeing a fourth successive season in the top flight but travel to St Mary’s on the back of three morale-sapping home defeats.

The Seagulls’ 5-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday evening followed a 3-1 loss to champions Liverpool and a 3-0 reverse against Manchester United.

Crucial post-lockdown victories over Arsenal and Norwich mean Brighton are well-placed to avoid the drop and Potter is eager to remain positive.

“We have to focus, we have to regroup, we have to dust ourselves down from a disappointing week,” said Potter.

“But at the same time there have been a lot of good things as well that we have done.

“No-one likes to lose. At the same time you need perspective, we’re not at the level of Liverpool and Manchester City and it’s no disgrace in saying that. We have to put our egos to one side – as much as we’d like to say we were (as good), we’re just not.

“You can zoom into the recent games. Or we can say we’ve played six matches, picked up seven points, half of those games probably against three of the best teams in Europe.

“We’ve done OK but we need to keep going, it’s as simple as that.

“You can’t rely on anybody else, you can’t rely on other results, you have to keep working, keep getting the points and keep going to the end, that’s what the Premier League demands.”

In-form opponents Southampton sit comfortably in mid-table after Monday’s dramatic draw at Manchester United made it 11 points from a possible 18 since the restart.

Potter has repeatedly sung the praises of his opposite number Ralph Hasenhuttl and expects a tough examination when his team head west along the A27 on Thursday evening.

“We have to understand that Southampton is a really tough game, they’re as good as anybody after lockdown, so this one’s not an easy game at all,” said Potter.

“But, as I’ve said many, many times, if you show me an easy game in the Premier League, I’ll be very surprised.

“We’re still in that place where we need to keep going until we get enough points that makes us secure.”

Brighton’s chances of avoiding another defeat could rely heavily on successfully shackling red-hot Saints striker Danny Ings.

Potter has been impressed by Ings – who is chasing the Golden Boot having hit 19 Premier League goals – but hopes he has an “off day” against Albion.

“To have that goalscoring threat is huge,” said Potter.

“But it’s not just his goals. He contributes in terms of how he works for the team, contributes to what they try to do so he’s had a fantastic season.

“Good luck to him, hope he has an off day when we play them.”

Meanwhile, Brighton have signed 15-year-old forward Zak Emmerson from Oldham for an undisclosed fee.

Emmerson became the second-youngest player to appear in the English Football League when – at 15 years and 73 days old – he made his debut as a substitute against Walsall in October.