“Focus on the now,” says Graham Potter of Brighton’s World Cup hopes

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Brighton manager Graham Potter has urged his international stars not to allow the prospect of taking part in the Winter World Cup to hurt their Premier League form.

Albion, who travel to West Ham on Sunday, have started the season strongly with four points from two games after finishing in the first half of the season for the first time last season.

Ecuador left-back Pervis Estupinan added Qatar hopes to the Seagulls squad this week, joining compatriots Moises Caicedo and Jeremy Sarmiento, Spain goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, Argentina midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and Belgium striker Leandro Trossard.

While Potter understands the hype surrounding the World Cup, which begins in three months, he has advised his players to focus on club matters.

“That’s just my opinion but a big mistake they would make would be to think too far ahead in terms of the World Cup; Premier League games get you there,” he said.

“So focus on the now, be in the moment.

“It’s a massive thing, there’s no denying that, it’s the World Cup and of course it affects or affects people.

“But our guys are very focused, very intelligent in terms of knowing how best to get there.

“And a good way is to really focus on the now, helping us win football games and perform well as a team.”

Dutch defender Joel Veltman, Poland pair Jakub Moder and Kacper Kozlowski, Ghana hopeful Tariq Lamptey and Japan midfielder Kaoru Mitoma will also be eyeing a World Cup appearance.

Tuesday’s arrival of Estupinan for £16m from Villarreal closes the gap left by Marc Cucurella’s £60m departure to Chelsea while also raising Brighton’s South American contingent to six.

Potter, who also has Colombian midfielder Steven Alzate and Paraguayan striker Julio Enciso in his squad, is hoping the situation can be beneficial but wary of causing a potential split in the camp.

“There is a positive side to that, which is that they can relate to their homeland and speak the same language, but at the same time you have to make sure that there isn’t a small South American clique,” he said.

“That’s the balance, but all the guys are aware of that. It’s a nice balance at the moment, you have to respect that there are people from the same area and that’s nice.

“Other guys can also benefit from it because they understand a little more about South American culture.”

Brighton have never lost a game in the Premier League against West Ham, winning four and drawing six of their previous ten meetings.

Potter said: “In my time we’ve only won one game against West Ham so that doesn’t feel like such a great record! We had a lot of draws.

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for David Moyes and the work he has done there and as a man I have a lot of time for him.

“It’s an experienced squad with an experienced coach, so we’re ready for a tough game.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/graham-potter-brighton-premier-league-qatar-ecuador-b2149047.html “Focus on the now,” says Graham Potter of Brighton’s World Cup hopes

Fry Electronics Team

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