Brighton boss: Leicester game is not ‘free hit’
Brighton boss Graham Potter has warned it would be a mistake to look past Sunday’s trip to Leicester as his squad aim to make the most of the busy December schedule.
The Foxes have coasted into the Europa League knockout stages, finishing top of their group following Thursday night’s win over AEK Athens.
Brendan Rodgers’ men head into the weekend’s Premier League fixtures aiming to keep pace with the leaders, starting out in fourth place and just three points behind pacesetters Tottenham.
The Seagulls, meanwhile, are battling for points at the other end of the table and will be looking to respond after a 2-1 home defeat by Southampton on Monday night, which saw them dealt another controversial VAR decision.
Following Sunday’s trip to the King Power Stadium, Brighton travel to Fulham on December 16 and then host bottom club Sheffield United.
Potter, though, insists the squad must face up to each challenge with the same mindset, rather than viewing the Leicester game as a potential ‘free hit’.
“You can make a mistake if you think in those terms,” said Potter. “You have got to just approach every game as if it is the main game.
“(You have) to look at it as an opportunity to win, but it is also an opportunity that if you don’t do things well, then you can lose.
“That is the case in any Premier League game, regardless of how you play.
“You have to go with ambition and always understand what the opposition can do.
“(You have to) also have that humility about how you play yourself, and then focus all of your attention on the next match, don’t worry about what is ahead, and whether the league table perceives if that is going to be easier or not.”
Potter added: “Every game we have the same approach, the same mentality – every one is difficult and if you don’t do things well, you can lose.
“There is always an opportunity on a football pitch, that has always been our mentality – give every opposition the respect and let’s just do our best, focus on the next match ahead.”
Brighton are at West Ham on December 27, and then welcome Arsenal two days later.
By the time Wolves come to the Amex Stadium on January 2, attention will again be on transfers, with the winter window open.
Brighton defender Ben White is a reported potential target for both Liverpool and Manchester United.
Potter intends to keep his eye out for possible new recruits, but will not let any speculation deflect his attention from the job in hand.
“We have a strong enough squad, but I always say in every window there is a responsibility to have a look to see if we can strengthen the group and to make those adjustments if you can, if it is possible,” the Brighton boss said.
“But January is notoriously not an easy market to work in, you have to accept that, especially given the recent situation we have had with lockdown and no crowds.
“My job, though, as head coach is to make sure the guys we have are ready to play.
“We have a really important period coming up, with a lot of games, so that is the main focus from me.”