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Potter: Blades have shown top-flight steel

Graham Potter has praised the exploits of Sheffield United ahead of Albion's meeting with the Blades at the Amex tomorrow.

By Alex Stedman • 20 December 2019

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion head coach Graham Potter.

The Seagulls host Chris Wilder’s seventh-placed Blades on the back of a 1-1 draw away to Crystal Palace on Monday night, and the Albion boss knows this weekend’s game will be another stern test for his men. 

He said, “They’re very well organised and have a clear idea and understanding of what they’re doing. They’re hard to break down and play against. It doesn’t surprise me to see how well they’ve done so far."

Potter guided former club Swansea City to two wins over United last season but knows the strength of the challenge facing Albion. 

“I saw them last year in the Championship and I understood how hard it is to play against them," he added. "If you have that collective understanding and belief, along with confidence in each other, then I think you can go a long way and achieve fantastic results. 

“They’ve got 25 points and the third best defensive record in the league, if they repeat those achievements in the second half of the campaign then they will have had a fantastic season. 

“It’s nice for the competition that a side can come up from the league below and do so well. Perhaps people were looking at them as the whipping boys of the division and to go back down, but football isn’t as simple as that.”

10:42

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Potter's Sheffield United Press Conference

The Albion head coach also praised the work of his opposite number Wilder, praising the 52-year-old’s journey through the divisions before he joined the club he has supported all his life. 

“He’s done amazingly well and it’s a career to be proud of. I had a lot of respect for Chris anyway having seen his work first-hand in the Championship,” Potter added. 

“I’m sure he’ll be able to tell you better than me, but I’d imagine he’s had some bumps in the road, but he’s kept going and kept learning. Management is never a straight-line journey. 

“The job he’s done at Sheffield United is amazing. They were struggling when he arrived, but he’s come in and given them a real clarity and identity. Everyone buys into it and you can see the power of that way of working.”

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Highlights: Crystal Palace 1 Albion 1

Neal Maupay took his tally for the season to seven goals with another fine finish on Monday at Selhurst Park, and the boss spoke glowingly of the French forward’s impact since his summer move from Brentford. 

He said: “He's an impressive young man. Neal has been great for us and he’s in good form. He’s been really important both as a person and a footballer, we’re delighted with how he’s handled the step up in division and everything that brings. 

“He’s had to get up to speed but he’s done it really well. His attitude is great every day, he wants to work hard for the team and continues to learn. It’s nice he’s getting the rewards at the moment too with his goals.

“He’s a student of the game and he wants to keep developing. He’s a thoughtful character who is hungry to progress and that type of person is important for our club."

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