Why Pep Guardiola fell-out with Graham Potter - what was said, and how the Brighton boss apologised
Pep Guardiola used to like Brighton’s head coach Graham Potter.
It was back when City regularly pummelled Albion with wave after wave of attack and clocked-up 4-1, 4-0 and 5-0 victories.
“Graham Potter is the best English coach in the game,” said Guardiola after one such victory. “I respect Graham so much as a coach, it’s just down to the quality of player,” the Spaniard said the next time after safely pocketing another three points.
Albion were a guaranteed six points a season for City and it’s quite easy to hand out a few complements during the warm after-glow of victory. Guardiola however can be a sensitive chap and last season Albion started to close the gap. Potter’s team played pretty well at the Etihad and the Premier League champions were forced to work hard for the win as Phil Foden’s clever finish on the dash of halftime proved the difference.
Albion continued their progress under Potter and come May they were playing decent football and looking far more secure at the back.
İlkay Gündogan gave City the lead at the Amex and Foden’s strike just after halftime had Guardiola sitting pretty comfortably in his dugout. City were however down to 10-men after Joao Cancelo was judged to have brought down Danny Welbeck in the first half.
Brighton rallied on a raucous and memorable night on the south coast and goals from Leo Trossard, Adam Webster and Dan Burn (yes, Dan Burn) delivered perhaps Albion’s finest and most dramatic victory ever in the Premier League.
Understandably Potter celebrated like a maniac. It was a significant moment for ‘little old Albion’ who a few months earlier had taken three points at Liverpool. This Brighton team were evolving, they were competitive against the giants and Guardiola didn’t like it one bit – his easy six points each year had disappeared.
The fact Potter jumped up and down and screamed crazily at the Guardiola’s assist probably didn’t help, but to heck with it. Albion had just beaten City, Potter was entitled to celebrate with passion just as Guardiola has on numerous occasions, much to the annoyance of his rivals.
Potter quickly gathered himself and apologised to Guardiola and the City bench in the in the post match interviews. “I was a bit emotional and it wasn’t my finest hour, I have to apologise for that,” said the Albion head coach.
Not that he needed to, it’s just that Potter is a very nice bloke. It was though, above all, very funny but it also underlined the progress Albion have made under their usually mild-mannered head coach.
It’s not to say City are no longer capable of thumping Albion once again this Saturday, and last season’s loss will certainly give them added incentive to do so. It’s too far of a stretch to say
Brighton go into Saturday’s 5.30pm clash with City at the Amex as equals but they have narrowed the gap.
Albion are a lofty fourth in the Premier League table just one place and two points behind Guardiola’s team who last time out beat Burnley 2-0 at the Etihad and have four wins, three draws and one loss from their first eight fixtures.
Brighton have had an excellent start but have flat-lined somewhat of late drawing their last three matches against Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Norwich.
Potter’s team have not scored in their last two but their season so far has been based on the defensive solidity of Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Burn.
Burn in particular was excellent last week at Norwich and should keep his spot despite the return of Adam Webster, who is fit again after his hamstring issue. Tariq Lamptey could make his first Premier League start since last December having featured from the bench at Carrow Road.
Who? Brighton vs Man City
Where? Amex Stadium
Why? Premier League
When? Saturday, October 23 – kick-off 5.30pm
How to watch? The match will be televised on BT Sport 1 highlights will be screened on Match of the Day – BBC 1, 10.30pm.
Referee: Kevin Friend