Brighton's Graham Potter ready for challenge of facing 'exciting' new Chelsea

Blues travel to the Amex Stadium for their opening Premier League game having spent more than £200m on players

Graham Potter's Brighton & Hove Albion team drew with Chelsea in a pre-season friendly but he believes that will have no bearing on Monday's game. PA
Graham Potter's Brighton & Hove Albion team drew with Chelsea in a pre-season friendly but he believes that will have no bearing on Monday's game. PA

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter has called Chelsea's substantial transfer activity "exciting for the Premier League" and has urged his players to embrace the challenge of facing Frank Lampard's side.

Brighton face a tricky opening to the new season when a Chelsea team that looks set to feature at least two of their new signings visit the Amex Stadium on Monday evening.

The London club were under a transfer embargo when manager Lampard was appointed last summer and have wasted little time in making up for the sanction by investing heavily this time around.

More than £200 million (Dh940m) has been spent bringing Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Malang Sarr to Stamford Bridge.

Potter insists facing world-class opponents is part of the thrill of competing in the top flight and wants his squad to relish the tough assignment.

“I think it’s just exciting for the Premier League, exciting for the competition,” he said of Chelsea’s transfer business. “There’s a chance that the top teams will invest. Everyone does it in different ways, of course. But for us we just need to take the challenge on, embrace it, it’s what we’re here for, to test ourselves against the best.

“We’re lucky that we are [in the Premier League] and we’re going to do everything we can to keep fighting and try and get points.”

Midfielder Ziyech, signed from Ajax, and former Leicester City left-back Chilwell will not feature in the opening game due to injuries. Veteran Brazil defender Silva is a doubt as he builds fitness following his arrival from Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain.

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Chelsea's summer transfers

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While there is plenty of intrigue surrounding Chelsea, the challenge for Lampard is to quickly integrate the new players into the team, and Potter admits it may be advantageous to face the Blues early in the campaign.

“Who knows? I can’t predict that. There is an argument,” said Potter. “But the players are top players and they could just gel very quickly and hit the ground running.

“I can’t control how quickly Chelsea become the team they want to become. I’ve just got to focus on my team and help them get to the maximum level they can because if we don’t do that it doesn’t matter what Chelsea do, we’re going to struggle.”

Brighton and Chelsea met just over two weeks ago in a friendly used as a pilot event for the return of supporters.

Potter expects that warm-up match, a 1-1 draw played in front of just over 2,500 fans, to have little bearing on the forthcoming behind-closed-doors clash.

“It was a good exercise for both teams, but I would say that’s all it was really,” he said. “Both teams used it for what it was, there were lots of changes made. We’re expecting a different type of game in the Premier League.”

Published: September 13, 2020 03:42 PM

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