Graham Potter keen to help Brighton owner Tony Bloom ‘reach his goals’

Graham Potter, centre right, is confident he has the backing of Tony Bloom, centre left (PA Archive)
11:00am, Sat 22 May 2021
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Graham Potter says he has never doubted the support of Brighton owner Tony Bloom during a rollercoaster second season at the Amex Stadium.

Seagulls chairman Bloom lavished praise on Potter ahead of Tuesday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Premier League champions Manchester City, proclaiming the current style of play the best in the club’s 120-year history.

Albion were facing a serious relegation scrap earlier in the campaign after winning just two of their opening 18 fixtures but travel to Arsenal on Sunday on the verge of breaking their own top-flight points record.

Head coach Potter, who continues to be linked with the vacant Tottenham job amid widespread acclaim, is delighted with the progress made during his two-year tenure and believes retaining the backing of the boardroom is “the most important thing”.

“It’s the best team that I’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve improved a lot,” he replied when asked about Bloom’s comments.

“I’ve never really lost that support from Tony, to be honest. No matter what is said on the outside, no matter what people write or talk about on different things, I’ve never paid attention to it.

“I will do my best while I am here to help him reach his goals and I couldn’t ask for a better chairman.

“He’s got a way of looking at things and a perspective that is so impressive, that gives you a chance to work.

“Football is a bit of a rollercoaster – if you win you’re good and if you lose you’re bad – and you can be on that up and down and that can be destabilising.”

Potter celebrated two years since his appointment on Thursday, a milestone which coincided with his 46th birthday.

By coming from two goals down to stun Pep Guardiola’s Champions League finalists in midweek, his 16th-placed side equalled last season’s club-record 41 Premier League points with a game to spare.

Potter believes upsetting City provides confidence for the future but was eager to avoid talking down this term’s achievements.

“The individuals within the team have got better and, as a team, we’ve grown and are understanding each other more and more, so that’s pleasing,” he said.

“We need to carry that on of course and we need to turn the really good performances into better results. But still, we’re on 41 points which in the history of Brighton and Hove Albion is still the most they’ve ever had in this level.

“We want better and we want more and nights like the other night can give us a bit more belief that we’re on the right path.”

Brighton did the double over Arsenal last season but were beaten 1-0 at home by their weekend opponents at the end of a torrid 2020.

Mikel Arteta’s ninth-placed Gunners have an outside chance of scraping into the inaugural Europa Conference League at the end of forgettable season.

“You can say they’d be disappointed because a club of that size is always competing historically for different things. But sometimes in football that happens,” said Potter.

“They’ve still got the same qualities. They can still attack you from any area on the pitch, they’re making progress as a team, Mikel is making progress there.

“They’re going to be strong, fighting for the points to get in Europe. From being written off a few months ago, they’re still in the fight and that’s a credit to them.”

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