The five key quotes from Graham Potter's pre-West Ham United press conference
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter spoke to the press as the Seagulls prepare to face West Ham United at the London Stadium.

The Albion boss spoke on facing the Hammers, the absence of Tariq Lamptey, the competitiveness of the league and playing without fans again.

On facing West Ham

Potter feels the Hammers are a better side under David Moyes now than they were a year ago when Manuel Pellegrini was in charge.

"David Moyes' teams are always organized and strong from set pieces. They have got good attacking players in Sebastian Haller, Manuel Lanzini and Jarrod Bowen.

"They can mix up the game well and are a strong side but we're looking forward to the challenge. We can take some positives from the Sheffield United match and we'll go to West Ham with some optimism."

On Connolly response

Seagulls midfielder Aaron Connolly missed a good chance in the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United, but the manager isn't worried how he'll bounce back from that.

"That is part of what it is to be a Premier League footballer. We will support him and we believe in him. He will be better for the experience. Aaron is a young player learning his trade in the toughest league in the world.

"All strikers miss chances, it's part of the life of a striker, unfortunately. In life we follow a pattern where we forget the struggles snd only remember the good things. Success is sometimes the result of suffering, struggling and failing."

On playing in empty stadiums again

After playing against Sheffield United with a limited amount of fans in attendance, Brighton has gone into Tier 4 COVID-19 restrictions on Boxing Day and Potter is confident his side will adjust.

"Personally I think we have shown a really good level of motivation when we haven't had supporters. We succeeded after the restart in June in what we wanted to do with no fans in the stadiums.

"This season our performances have been good, so that indicates we are doing something right in terms of motivation to perform, even in empty grounds. 

"As a group we are aware enough to know what is happening in the world at the moment because of the pandemic - that things are not ideal and we have to adapt, whether that is in front of 2000 or nobody."

On Lamptey absence

The Seagulls will be without Lamptey for the trip to the London Stadium as he recovers from a hamstring injury, but Potter doesn't expect him to miss much time.

"It's not serious, just a slight problem with his hamstring. The nature of how he plays, you have to be careful because you don't want him to be out a number of weeks. I am expecting him to be back soon. 

"We haven't got a like-for-like replacement for Tariq, so you have to adjust as a team for another person coming into the team. The player that comes in for him will have different attributes and qualities."

On the closeness of the league

In his own press conference, Moyes assessed that any team could finish between third and 18th in this season and Potter agrees with his opposite number.

"I can't disagree. The Premier League is so tight and competitive, there are so many good teams. There is always pressure which the current situation exaggerates. 

"A manager once said 'you are only 90 minutes from a crisis' and I understand that. You can win some games and suddenly it's somebody's else's turn to feel the pressure.

"It's all part of the challenge of the Premier League. Sometimes you have to suffer. This league makes you do that. But the important bit is how you handle yourself and come out of it."