Robert Sanchez: Brighton's clean sheet 'monster' has saved them millions in the transfer market
Q&A with Albion keeper Rob Sanchez who kept his 11th clean sheet of the season during the impressive 2-0 victory against Leeds at the Amex Stadium last Saturday
It's been a remarkable campaign for Albion's Spanish goalkeeper Rob Sanchez. The 23-year-old once again produced a composed an confident display as Brighton all but secured their Premier League status with three points against Marcelo Bielsa's team.
Albion are 10 points above the relegation places with four matches remaining and Sanchez can be proud of the role he has played. He started the season as the No 3 goalkeeper following a loan at League one Rochdale but head coach Graham Potter had other ideas.
He performed well on his debut during a 2-1 loss at Tottenham last November and has since gone on to firmly establish himself as Potter's No 1 and was also called up to the Spain squad.
His athleticism, shot stopping and decision making have impressed and after one particularly commanding performance during a 1-1 draw at Burnley last February, Potter described the 6ft 6in Spaniard as a "monster."
"He is a monster in terms of his physicality," said Potter. “He’s not just big but he is powerful, he is fast. In terms of attributes as a goalkeeper, he has got everything to be a top goalkeeper."
We caught up with the academy graduate, who could save Brighton millions in the transfer market, after the Leeds triumph and here's what he had to say.
35 points has been enough to keep sides in the Premier League season, but do you feel you are safe with 37 after the win over Leeds?
“Well obviously we are not going to relax fully, but these three points are going to be important for us and allow us to become more comfortable in the last four games of the season.”
Been quite the season for you, becoming the NO.1, getting your first Spain call-up and keeping 11 clean sheet this season, you must be happy with how your season has gone so far?
“Yeah I am obviously really happy with it. Since I started playing for goal was to go game-by-game and do the best I could. But too be honest it has been even better than I expected and I am really happy about that. But now I need to keep going and playing at this level.”
How much easier has it been keeping those clean when you have a defence that are willing to head everything away or throw themselves in front of shots?
“Of course (it helps). The whole defensive block myself and the four in front of me whether that be Dunky, Webby, Burn, White, Veltman they are already ready for every action. The communication is also great as if one is not there the other will fill in and try to help each other. But also keeping that going for 90 minutes is helping us to keep these clean sheets.”
Now nine clean sheets for Albion in 2021, is there any reason why you as a team have kept more clean sheets since the turn of the year?
“I feel like we have found ourselves to be honest and we are just playing good and training at our best every day to reach that level.”
Confidence at the back after keeping all those clean sheets highlighted by Lewis Dunk chesting a cross back to you in the box?
“Of course like I said we are always there for each other and the confidence is always high because we know we are a really good team. In defence we are doing well and we just feel as a team we have been a bit unlucky in terms of scoring goals, but we are always confident.”
Danny Welbeck showed his quality for the second goal against Leeds, just how much quality has he got?
“Obviously his career has shown that itself that he is an unbelievable player and he just keeps showing it every week.”
You face him in training each day and try to keep him out, does he show those sort of touches and quality in training?
“Of course he is top draw and is always training to the best of his ability, working hard and keeps improving every day. But as a team we are always have fun in training.”
Result now put pressure back on other teams e.g Fulham and West Brom who now have to win four or their remaining five games?
“Of course now we are ten points clear,so they are now going to have push more than ever if they want to get a result.”
For you, what are your aims for the rest of the season?
“I want to try and keep as many clean sheets as possible, maintain the level that I am playing and obviously stay safe and take it game-by-game.”
Aims for the team as a whole, it is to beat points record in the Premier League of 41 points?
“Of course if we can beat that (points tally) and get even more points then that would be unbelievable. But we are always saying we can do more in every game, so it is just at about taking it game-by-game and do our best in every game.”
Wolves next at Molineux, how tough of a game will that be?
“It will be a really tough game for us, but with the win today (Saturday) we are feeling positive, have plenty of confidence and hopefully we can reach the 40-point mark.”