Graham Potter questions Premier League’s coronavirus postponement stance

Brighton beaten 1-0 by Wolves on Wednesday after Premier League rejects appeal from Covid-19 and injury-hit Seagulls to postpone match; Brighton are now winless in 11 Premier League games as Romain Saiss nets Wolves win at Amex Stadium

Brighton boss Graham Potter believes it will be difficult for the Premier League to continue with the current trend of only some games being deemed worthy of postponement due to coronavirus infections among players.

Potter revealed Albion were unsuccessful in their request for Wednesday evening’s clash with Wolves – a 1-0 loss – to be rearranged following a Covid-19 and injury crisis at the club.

The depleted Seagulls were without a host of influential players for the game, with top scorer Neal Maupay and Pascal Gross the latest to join the growing list of absentees.

Brighton’s scheduled meeting with Tottenham on Sunday was postponed due to a Covid outbreak at the north London club, while Brentford versus Manchester United and Watford’s trip to Burnley were called off in similar circumstances on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

“We asked the question because of our situation,” Potter said of a possible postponement. “You haven’t really got time to be disappointed (with being turned down). It was about preparing the team, preparing for the game.”

Speaking of the apparent lack of consistency in decision-making, the Brighton boss continued: “You obviously have to think everyone is doing things in the best intentions. There will be frustration with that.

“It would be better if it was more transparent but at the same time you’re talking about medical information so I don’t know how transparent that can be. I think the path we’re on, I’m not sure how long we can stay on it for.

“We all want football to continue, want life to continue as best as we can but clearly health is the most important thing.

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“We’ve got some issues ourselves and this week has been a little bit disturbing in terms of how quickly we’ve been affected. If that carries on then we’ll have to have some serious thought (about action being suspended).”

Brighton’s winless run in the top flight stretched to a club-record 11 games after Romain Saiss’ first-half volley earned the visitors a deserved victory.

Seagulls midfielder Enock Mwepu spurned a golden chance to equalise immediately after the opener but the toothless hosts faded and could have lost by a far greater margin.

Marcal and Saiss each struck the woodwork for Wanderers after the restart, while Daniel Podence wasted two excellent openings to give the away side daylight.

The narrow win lifts Wolves to eighth, with the depleted Seagulls slipping to 13th ahead of Saturday’s trip to Manchester United.

Speaking of the three-month run without success, Potter said: “There are always concerns when you don’t win and we have to deal with that statistic.

“We’ve had lots of draws in that time. We’ve had some decent performances and some good games when we could have won but we haven’t and you have to deal with the facts. We haven’t won for a while and we have to deal with it.”

Lage hails the ‘Maldini from Morocco’

Saiss’ cultured finish was Wolves’ first goal in five outings and sufficient to earn a first success in that period.

Wanderers boss Bruno Lage likened the match-winning Morocco defender to AC Milan and Italy great Paolo Maldini.

“We’re creating a lot of chances, that’s the main thing,” said Lage. “And Saiss, that’s why everyone knows him as Maldini from Morocco. He scored one, he could have scored another one at the start of the second half.

“We worked hard on that part of the game: the way we are defending set-pieces, the way we are attacking with set-pieces. Credit for my staff, they are working hard in those situations. It was a beautiful goal and I’m very happy.”

 

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