'I played badly' - Marc Cucurella makes surprising 'bench' admission ahead of Manchester City test

Marc Cucurella looks every inch a Brighton and Hove Albion player of the year - but he admits he got off to a shaky start shortly after his £15m arrival

The Spain international has quickly established himself as fan favourite since his £15m arrival from Getafe late in last summer’s transfer window.

The 23-year-old left sided player is one of the first players on Graham Potter’s teamsheet and has started each of the 29 Premier League matches since making his debut at Brentford.

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Cucurella has impressed management and fans alike with his high energy, versatile and skilful displays. He has adapted seamlessly to the physical demands of the Premier League and has played in a variety of positions down the left.

Brighton's Marc Cucurella has impressed this season after his £15m summer arrival

The former Barcelona youth player has featured left midfield, left wing back, left back and also –perhaps surprisingly – left of the back three.

It’s a role that has taken many by surprise, including himself.

Cucurella has never started in that position before his arrival on the south coast. Dan Burn previously occupied that role before his £13m move to Newcastle last January.

That left a void on the left side of the defence and it’s a gap Cucurella has plugged expertly.

The Spaniard does not have the physicality of the 6ft 7in Burn but his ability with the ball at his feet and pace to recover and tackle back has helped him adapt.

“Moving to Brighton has been a big change for me because I am playing in a new league, a new country and in my last two teams we played more direct football,” he said.

“I played in a 4-4-2 on the left of midfield and now I play at left back and at centre-back. At first it was difficult because the league is very different but the gaffer has given me confidence.

"I played badly in the Brentford game but the next time he put me in the line-up and that was very important for me.

“During the week after Brentford I thought I’d start on the bench in the next game against Leicester, but the gaffer put me in the line-up, the team won and that is the best outcome.”

“It’s strange, I have never played at centre-back before. Sometimes I have played there in the last few minutes when we’ve been losing, but I have never started there and one day the gaffer in the training explained to me that he wants me to play there and I said, “yeah, it’s good.” Sometimes I’m worried when the team attack because I need to stay at the back.

“The gaffer says it’s a good position for me because with the ball I look for good passes and I help the centre-backs in the build-ups.

“I like playing there. Sometimes when the team attack I am a little bit worried because I need the stay at the back but it’s fun.”