Current lockdown reminds Potter of days in Sweden

Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton boss Graham Potter says the current lockdown in football reminds him of his time in Sweden when football used to be suspended because of the weather.

Potter was forced to adapt training sessions with former club Ostersunds because the freezing Swedish winter turned footballs “into cannon balls’ and made playing impossible.

Potter is currently unable to perform his regular coaching role as his isolated Albion squad are working on their fitness from home following the postponement of the Premier League due to the coronavirus crisis.

While the 44-year-old is aware the ongoing pandemic is far more serious, temperature issues during his seven-and-a-half-year spell in Scandinavia provided experience of adjusting schedules and training indoors.

“This is quite unprecedented, but in Sweden we had times when the cold forced us inside,” said Potter, who left Ostersunds for Swansea in 2018 before being appointed by Brighton last summer.

“It’s tricky over there because the sun is shining, it’s a nice blue sky and I thought, as an English coach coming over there, that the weather would be OK, but actually it was about minus 20!” he said.

“We did one training session and the lads’ sweat was dripping down their foreheads and literally turning into icicles. Their eyelashes were freezing and then snapping off.

“Footballs were getting cold and turning into cannonballs. That drove us inside but obviously only temporarily – not as extreme as we’re all experiencing now.”

Potter has been keeping in touch with his squad – one of whom tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday – by organising online group training sessions. He is also contacting them individually to check on their mental well-being.

Although the period of social distancing is far from ideal, the head coach feels there are some benefits and claims he has started to develop better personal relationships with his players as a result.