Brighton boss Graham Potter 'so impressed' with Man United hero Cristiano Ronaldo

Brighton & Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter has heaped praise on Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Saturday's meeting between the two sides.

The 37-year-old, who rejoined United from Italian giants Juventus last summer, has been a bright spot in a dismal season for the Red Devils.

The Portuguese striker has netted 18 Premier League goals this season, more than teammates Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho combined, but United sit sixth and look set to miss out on UEFA Champions League qualification.

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Ronaldo, who is officially professional football’s all-time leading goalscorer, has netted nine goals in his last six Premier League outings.

Brighton & Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter has heaped praise on Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Saturday's meeting between the two sides. Picture by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

And Potter stressed that Albion must keep the legendary forward under wraps if the Seagulls are to get a result at the Amex on Saturday evening.

The Brighton head coach said: "I have been so impressed with him. How he has played, how he has helped his team, scoring and assisting goals.

"You can see how his game has developed from wide to centrally and how that has helped him.

"He’s not getting any younger but you still retain your brain, your standing in football and his finishing is as clinical as you will get.

"It’s a great experience for our players. Hopefully he doesn’t have as good an experience at the Amex this Saturday."

Ronaldo struck a sensational goal in United's 2-0 home win over the ten-man Seagulls in February.

The 37-year-old shimmied to the right of the Albion defence and, with barely any backlift, sent a low curling drive beyond Brighton keeper Robert Sánchez on 51 minutes.

Reflecting on Brighton's performance at Old Trafford, Potter said: "It was a strange one, I thought we probably shaded the first half, we did well and it was quite even.

"Then pretty quickly in the second half the game got away from us and you could see the first goal, Ronaldo punished us like Ronaldo can.

"That’s the learning experience from that game because regardless of what you say about United’s season, they’ve still got some fantastic players who can hurt you in a second.

"That’s going to be the challenge, we’ve got to do everything well, pretty much close to perfect and survive in the difficult moments, that’s what it’s like playing against the top teams."