Graham Potter offered a revealing final line when asked about Albion’s formations and tactics.
He was speaking at a press conference the day before the somewhat ill-fated Fulham game and less than 48 hours after his win over Leeds.
In response to a few questions from The Argus, he walked us through his thoughts on formations and tactical approaches.
It was a short but interesting conversation.
The kind you have a little more time for at press conferences that aren’t as well attended (which this one was, since it was a bank holiday Monday).
Potter’s team is certainly entertaining and fascinating to watch, and I told him so.
He sees the game in such a way that even those of us who have read, chatted or thought about football every day for several decades have questions about what he does.
Potter seemed to enjoy the discussion.
But then he added, “If the results aren’t so good, then the talks aren’t so good!”
Albion’s head coach knows the score.
Clever tactical variations when winning can be “tinkering” when losing.
But even with the defeat on Tuesday, Albion showed flexibility.
His plan to forego Danny Welbeck was what was most discussed.
But there was more to consider.
Albion switched to a back four fairly early on and a form to match Fulham’s.
It was bad news for television audiences as it applied the brakes to a smooth start to proceedings and turned the game into a game of chess.
But it helped Albion gain some control.
“Tactically interesting yes, but thrills no,” commentator Peter Drury told BT Sport viewers as he summarized the first half.
When Albion beat Leeds, media covering the game came up with three different formations for Potter’s team – and some didn’t even try.
They were listed as 3-4-2-1, 3-5-1-1 and 4-4-2, while there was also a case for 4-2-3-1.
So Potter was asked by The Argus: Does he even think in those terms?
Does he use that generations-old number-dash-number-dash-number formula to sum up how a team plays?
Or is that a bit plain and simple?
He answered. “Well, there are systems, but if you look at a game at any point, the systems are pretty fluid, whatever it is.
“There’s a basic formation, be it 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 (for example), but generally in a game players move and then it’s more about what they do when they attack, what they do when they do it they defend themselves.
“Where the spaces are. What are our intentions in terms of how we want to play?
“These are, in my opinion, more important and more consistent than necessarily a basic cast.”
A player spoke about a time when Albion was 3-2-3-2 this season.
That could well have been at Old Trafford for a while considering how high so-called full-backs Solly March and Leandro Trossard were.
There’s a lot of analysis out there these days, a lot of it focused on Potter, and to a certain extent it’s fascinating.
But some jargon makes you shudder.
It can get to a point where all the complex technical talk turns a fun and exciting sport into a boring geometry lesson.
Doesn’t Albion just play with different formations every game?
Potter said, “I suppose if you watch our teams they’ll look a bit like this.
“But hopefully with an organization.
“Of course you need an organized team, the team has to understand what it is doing.
“We haven’t made it to this point by mastering a system.
“Hopefully if you look at a Brighton and Hove Albion team it will be familiar but they could be different systems.
“It will look different in different places.
“As long as the players understand what they’re supposed to do and they have the courage and responsibility to make decisions, that’s the most important thing.
“Not if the team is a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.
“In my head, of course, it has to be organized.”
So what formation do they play?
“I won’t tell you, you can elaborate further!”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/20874864.graham-potter-reveals-keys-brightons-strategy/?ref=rss Graham Potter reveals keys to Brighton’s strategy