Graham Potter hints that Brighton could have an advantage playing Frank Lampard’s new-look Chelsea so early in the Premier League season – but admits Frank Lampard’s side may “hit the ground running” tonight.
Seagulls boss Potter faces a tricky opening to the new season with Chelsea visiting the Amex Stadium following a substantial transfer spending spree.
The west London club were under a transfer embargo when manager Lampard was appointed last summer and have wasted little time in making up for the sanction by investing heavily this time around.
More than £200million has been spent bringing Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Malang Sarr to Stamford Bridge, while Eduardo Mendy is set to follow and – potentially – Declan Rice.
Midfielder Ziyech, signed from Ajax, and former Leicester left-back Chilwell will not feature on the south coast due to injuries, while Silva is a doubt as he builds fitness following his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain.
Potter feels Chelsea’s spending is clear intent of their desire to become title contenders after finishing 33 points adrift of champions Liverpool last term, but thinks facing Lampard’s men early in the campaign could be a positive.
“Who knows? I can’t predict that. There is an argument for (that),” said Potter. “But the players are top players and they could just gel very quickly and hit the ground running.
“I can’t control how quickly Chelsea become the team they want to become.
“I’ve just got to focus on my team and help them get to the maximum level they can because if we don’t do that it doesn’t matter what Chelsea do, we’re going to struggle.”
Jurgen Klopp has criticised Chelsea’s transfer business already, but Potter believes it is a bonus for the top flight as a whole: “I think it’s just exciting for the Premier League, exciting for the competition.
“There’s a chance that the top teams will invest. Everyone does it in different ways, of course.
“But for us we just need to take the challenge on, embrace it, it’s what we’re here for, to test ourselves against the best.
“We’re lucky that we are here (in the Premier League) and we’re going to do everything we can to keep fighting and try and get points.”