With 40 points being the line between safety and relegation, Brighton is well over a quarter of the way to its ultimate destination ahead of a Premier League season.
Four league wins from their first five games – a record only surpassed by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United – have proudly placed the Seagulls in the top four. There are six wins out of seven in all competitions.
With few can imagine such a sensational start, the scramble to unravel the secrets behind Brighton’s success is well underway, and a lively Graham Potter is only too happy to divulge it.
After spending over an hour answering questions from a media cohort desperately seeking insights into Brighton’s early days, Potter leans back in his chair, exhales, and indulges in a range of performances. His work with the media is done for now, but that doesn’t apply to matters in the field.
“No, the answer is,” Potter said exclusively to Sky Sports when asked if Brighton’s start had laid the foundation for a season free from the pressures of relegation avoidance. “The sample is too small.
“It’s a great return of points for us, four out of five wins in the Premier League are nothing to complain about. It’s a good start, there’s no reason to deny it, but we still have a long way to go this season. If we think too far ahead or get carried away and think we have cracked it, then we have problems. “
Far from being the usual hyperbole managers peddle about complacency, Potter’s insistence that nothing has been achieved, other than being true, is rooted in his assessment of Brighton’s accomplishments this season.
Should you conclude that Brighton’s start and high league position represented the best period of Potter’s tenure on the South Coast, you may be right, but it’s not that easy for the man in the hot seat.
“That’s the fascinating thing about football,” explains the Seagulls boss. “In terms of the results, it is absolutely difficult to argue. Results make everything better.
“If you’re a club that has played seven games, won six, cleared four times and you say things are not good, then something is drastically wrong.
“At the same time, if I played five or six games, we would probably just have been better in purely performance terms last year, but we didn’t get the results. This is certainly a good time for us, but we’re not going to get carried away.”
Brighton earned an undesirable reputation for failing to convert a plethora of encouraging performances into points last season and defying “expected goals” statistics to score fewer and concede more goals throughout the season.
In contrast, the Seagulls shot more and conceded less than expected in the first five games of the 2021/22 season to collect 12 points out of a possible 15, but what’s behind the transformation?
Did the players all suddenly improve over the summer, or is it due to a tactical masterpiece by Potter? The Brighton boss gave a slightly more modest assessment.
“We were very unlucky last year,” he admitted. “I can say the season is over now, I couldn’t tell while we were going through it.
“But at the same time we turned small moments in our favor, we got to know each other and developed stronger relationships as a team. But I can’t say that there was a magic formula because it’s not what we actually are. ”Play better.
“We know the margins were on our side, we know we were lucky, we know we did a lot well and the guys were brilliant, but we’re still a humble group looking to keep improving we need to focus.
“We are not at the maximum, we can improve a lot. Whether that leads to results is another matter because that is the nice thing about the game, sometimes people struggle with it. You can do a lot of things well in football and that Be the best. ” better team but still not winning. “
Of all the venues that Brighton will play this season, Potter will hope that such a prophecy is unfounded is Selhurst Park.
The intimidating, atmospheric home of Crystal Palace is the next where the Seagulls leave when their encouraging start to the season in Monday Night Football comes under scrutiny.
With Patrick Vieira still on his feet at the Palace and the Premier League, future Brighton fans will be forgiven for thinking their squad could ride this wave of confidence to a different outcome, but Potter is under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead of them on Derby day.
Monday, September 27th, 7:00 p.m.
Kick-off at 8:00 p.m.
“It’s going to be a tough game, it always is,” added Potter. “Palace is beginning their journey with a new manager and new players. They are doing well, they have got off to a good start and I think they will get better the longer they are together.”
“They’ll want to win, the crowd is very loud there, it’s going to be a great atmosphere and we’re looking forward to it. We try to prepare as normally, to be as consistent as possible, but understand the passion and feeling in a game like this .
“You have to understand that we did well in terms of the points we have. We are happy based on the results, but we focus more on what we do, how we win the game and how we play can.” better and improve. If you focus on it, you won’t get carried away or you will feel overconfident. “
Potter pointed to a stroke of luck that underpinned Brighton’s stellar start. That may or may not tell the full story, but which means the Seagulls are prepared to take advantage of any advantage that comes in their path this season. Keep doing this starting in Selhurst and there is no limit to how high you can go.