• Win over Bees moves Brighton into sixth, but Potter canít ignore the obvious

    Brightonís impressive start to the season continued on matchday four when edging newly promoted London side Brentford on Saturday. A 90th-minute winner from Leondro Trossard gave the Seagulls all three points and moved them into the top-six. Will they keep it up and battle for a European finish this season?

    Those who like to bet on sports think itís unlikely with Brighton still down the pecking order for a top-six or even a top-10 finish. Graham Potterís men arenít the type to pay too much attention to the opinions and predictions of their critics and so-called experts, but there is one thing the coaching staff at Falmer Stadium know they must improve upon - the defence.

    Brighton dodged a bullet
    The fans, players and coaches celebrated Trossardís first goal since May like they had got off with one, perhaps nicking a win they didnít deserve. For many, it was a huge sigh of relief when the ball hit the net with 90 minutes on the clock, and thatís because everyone with an interest in Brighton knew they dodged a bullet, winning three points their play in London didnít merit after playing well below par.

    The match stats from the Brentford Community Stadium were at odds with the final result. Brighton had more of the ball possession on 59%, but it was Brentford that had more shots on goal, with the final count reading 7-4. The Bees created some excellent chances to get off the mark and take the lead when the game was tied at 0-0 but continually fluffed their lines.

    It was a harsh lesson in playing at the top level of English football Brentford learned that day. They canít afford to pass up good chances in this league, or they will be made to pay. Itís not like in the Championship where misses could be punished. In the EPL, misses will be punished, and Brighton did just that.

    Both coaches were honest
    When addressing the waiting media in their post-match interviews, it was a welcome surprise to see both managers being refreshingly honest. There were no dodging questions, trying to back out of giving difficult answers or attempting to protect their men. Both Potter and his opposite number Thomas Frank evaluated the game perfectly.

    Speaking with more than a hint of relief in his voice, Potter spoke of his delight for the players and fans and gaining three points from what was a hard-fought match. The coach took pride in the belief of his players and the fact they never gave up, always battling for the winner while the games tied at 0-0, and they got the rewards for their never say die attitude. He did admit his team nicked a win but wasnít about to look a gift horse in the mouth, instead focussing on the positives of an away win and clean sheet.

    Frank was less impressed, and it showed as he spoke of his teamís missed chances. The Beesí boss thought it was an even game until his side turned the screw on 75 minutes and began creating more dangerous opportunities. Thomas said he will now go away and evaluate the performance, pick out what went right for them and what went wrong before turning their attention to the next match on a busy schedule.

    Midfield must improve
    On another day, Brentford could have won that match by two or three goals, and it wouldnít have been unfair to the Seagulls. Potter is experienced enough to know his side came out of that match with more than they deserved and, in the secrecy of his own office, will look at which of his players werenít up to scratch.

    The midfield had little impression on the game in London and was overrun too often. Was it a formation issue or a player commitment matter? Potter and his fellow coaches will be on the lookout for any obvious answers.

    While that autopsy is going on, Brighton fans can relax and enjoy seeing their side mix it with the top teams in the county. A record of three wins against one defeat with five goals scored and three conceded has them level on points with Man City and Spurs, one behind current leaders Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton.
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