Graham Potter and Brighton are commended. Despite their low position in the league, leaders Manchester City are the only team to have been unbeaten in the Premier League for a longer time. Pep Guardiola recently named Potter the best English manager.

Potter spoke football ahead of the A23 derby against Crystal Palace on Monday night and seemed unsure of the praise. “We live in a simple world where you are good if you win and if you don’t win, you are bad,” he told Sky Sports. “People only care about the result.”

Only that’s not entirely true. Brighton has always been the exception and the recent surge in form certainly doesn’t explain Guardiola’s admiration. It was the passing and pressing, playing through the thirds, the creativity and organization that made his work stand out.

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Even if the results weren’t there, the performances were on point. Brighton played against Manchester United but lost a five-goal thriller. A draw against Liverpool flattered the champions. Nine games without a win were worrying, but they never lost faith.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the man who invented the academy of culture during his seven years in Sweden can look past the outcome, but Potter is more than an esthete. He insists that it will take him up to 48 hours to overcome the darkness of defeat.

Maintaining the faith during this run was his most difficult task.

“I think that’s the biggest challenge in high-performance elite sport. It’s so competitive. You can do a lot right and not win. That makes it a great game. The challenge is to understand your process and know what needs to be done Do you do that to get consistent results?

“It takes courage to believe that if you continue down this path you will get these results because it is not guaranteed. The opposition may do things well and they may win.

“It’s about articulating this to the players and articulating it to the fans because everyone wants to win and they’ll be disappointed when we don’t. The nature of football is that there will always be negativity and criticism. That’s how it goes Them.” react.”

It’s easy to say now that Brighton have played six games without losing, but the analysts would have liked to tell you it was coming. On the model of expected goals from Opta, the Seagulls’ performances are the fifth strongest team in the Premier League when you compare the quality of the chances created with the quality of the chances given.

Even the most recent result, the goalless draw with Aston Villa, offered them fashion opportunities that would have averaged 2.23 goals per game, while the odds at the other end averaged 0.14 goals. That is dominance.

Potter is well aware of the metric.

“Expected goals are information that tells us about our performance,” he explains. “We know that the most important statistic is the result at the end of the game. We all try to get more than our opponents.”

“But you always have to pay attention to your performance.

“Even if you won the game, how many times would you have won if you played the game 10 times? This is how you can look at performance and see how you can improve.”

“It helps when you don’t get the results that you can hold on to and comfort yourself with, but at the same time you know that results are what matter.

“I don’t think it’s easy to say that we’re doing well. Fortunately, there are enough people here, enough people in-house, who understand that performance can lead to good results.

“Ultimately, when you win football matches, you win over people. But I have to say that the club gave me fantastic support and our fans were great with us.”

This support comes from what they saw on the field.

The transformation of Brighton’s underlying numbers is remarkable.

They have moved from a team outbid by their opponents to consistently having more odds and have done so in a style that is clearly stated in the advanced metrics.

There is the passing.

Only the current top 4, champions Liverpool and Arsenal, had more sequences of 10 passes or more that resulted in a shot or contact in the opposing area.

There’s the push.

Only Manchester City and Liverpool turn the ball more regularly with 40 meters of the opposing goal, whereby only City has achieved more of these sales with one shot.

Brighton has become a front-foot team that has more in common with the elite teams than with its peers. “You have to be a top team to play like this,” Guardiola says, but in a way, Brighton is proving that you don’t. It’s not just the elite who can subscribe to this style.

You have established an identity.

Again, Potter wants to hold back the praise. “Identity and style don’t get you three points,” he says. “It doesn’t guarantee you anything. You should never lose sight of that.”

Soon after, he takes up the subject again. “We have always said here that we are no better or worse than anyone else.”

But after a little more research, he admits that this clarity has underpinned his previous successes and is the foundation of what he’s trying to build in Brighton as well.

“When you lose football games, people want something different and things can break up pretty quickly. You’ve seen it many times. People change their style of play and want to go in a different direction. But it doesn’t always work in a positive way.”

“In Ostersund I saw how an identity, like a clarity, enables you to focus on everything and gives you a considerable advantage over a certain period of time.

“I think that may be the case with Brighton and Hove Albion.”

It is crucial that everyone in the club agrees.

“If you want to grow there are several ways you can go about it. You can spend money – and I’m talking about £ 100, 200, 300 million – and there are no guarantees.

“Or you’re wondering what a Brighton team is like and how you can improve it. How can we leverage the resources we have – our academy, our recruiting – and align them with a clear idea that will help you get better results than you would expect?

“This is not an overnight process. There are no guarantees. But this is the path we are on and a lot of people understand what we want to achieve by trying to get young players into a Premier League squad. ” and that is not easy to do.

“We’re back to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League again. It’s not overnight that we automatically get these results and surpass our finances and our history. But that’s the challenge and that’s what we’re fighting for. We’re ready for that challenge. “

One important aspect that should not be overlooked is another that is highlighted by Guardiola. “I like to see Brighton play,” he said. “As a football player, I would love to play in this team.”

Playing a brand of football that is so recognizable to players at top clubs, and for players looking to move to those top clubs, gives Brighton a competitive advantage over their immediate rivals. It gives them an advantage in keeping track of temporary and permanent signatures.

Tariq Lamptey found the transition easy. Overseas players know that the biggest teams can imagine how they might jump in if they impress in Brighton.

Yves Bissouma is being asked to make a major transfer shortly and Potter has said Brighton shouldn’t fear this process. Alex Mac Allister took the time to settle down but is gradually showing his great potential. The hope is that Moises Caicedo can be next.

“The clarity helps with everything,” says Potter. “As soon as you can see how everything is going, when you see that you are not just fighting for three points, but you are bringing in your attributes, you can see where you fit in and how you can help this team.

“This is where you have to align your recruiting process and understand what you are producing in the academy. Here you get one plus one equals three.

“You get that little bit extra.”

Brighton is now beginning to recognize these synergies. There is cautious optimism that all teams at the wrong end of the table are the most upward moving. The club’s best league finish so far is the 13th and came almost 40 years ago. It’s within reach.

Potter, who went through a number of garden analogies during the press conference preceding this one-on-one interview, clearly believes he planted seeds in fertile soil in Brighton, and he is now seeing green shoots that he hopes will grow and grow to grow.



WATCH FOR FREE: Highlights from Brighton’s draw with Aston Villa

“You have to understand that there is an identity, a direction that we want to go, a path that we want to go, that helps us grow as a club, but we also know that we are looking for the next game for three Premier League fight. ” Points. We have to balance both of them.

“But I think if you are on this path to improve, even if the path isn’t straight, you should get better.

“I think we’re getting better.

“We’re playing better than ever before. We’re attacking and defending better than ever since I’ve been here. It’s been all season, but lately the results have been clearly better for us and that.” gives everyone a little bit of confidence and a little bit of faith and a little bit of positivity about what happened.

“We worked a lot off the field to bring people together, how we behave as a group, how we behave every day, how we want to support each other and understand each other’s problems and challenges.”

“So we have a group that is competitive and wants to play, but at the same time is ready to support the team when they’re not playing. I think that’s why we are in a good moment. The players deserve credit.” that they held onto it in those difficult moments. “

See Brighton vs Crystal Palace live in the Sky Sports Premier League and the Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm on Monday evening. Kick-off at 8 p.m.