Graham Potter: Playing at Manchester United used to be petrifying...but not anymore

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter will lead a team out at Old Trafford for the first time (Picture: Paul Hazelwood BHAFC)
Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter will lead a team out at Old Trafford for the first time (Picture: Paul Hazelwood BHAFC)

Graham Potter will lead a team out at Old Trafford for the first time in his career as Brighton and Hove Albion seek to move into the top five.

Potter has impressed in his first season in the Premier League and they arrive at Manchester today in eighth - two places and two points ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United.

A first ever Premier League victory for Brighton at Old Trafford would give Potter's men 18 points after 12 matches, their best return at this stage of the season, and move them above Bournemouth, Arsenal and Sheffield United into fifth place.

Potter, who has previously managed Swedish club Östersund and then Swansea, has never managed at Old Trafford but was part of the Southampton team that famously beat Manchester United 6-3 at the Dell in 1996.

Potter came on as a second half substitute for the Saints in that match, as did Solskjaer for Alex Ferguson's United team. The Albion manager was an unused substitute in the return fixture a few months later where United won 2-1 at Old Trafford.

When asked how he felt when he visited Old Trafford as a player, he joked he was “petrified."

"When I was playing, Manchester United were the best side," Potter said. "Maybe they’re not at the moment. That’s what happens in football, clubs go through transitional periods and they’re in that phase now.

“You can ask anyone in the game and they’d tell you that there is still a huge respect for Manchester United as a club and as a team with the players they have.

“You know some grounds will be tougher to go to than others, but we went to Manchester City at the end of August with a way to be ourselves and tried to get a positive result, as well as carrying on our development as a team, and I think that’s how it should always be.”

United go into the game on the back of a 3-0 win against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, with Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford on target. Last time out in the Premier League, they lost 1-0 at Bournemouth.

Ashley Young is suspended for United and Scott McTominay left the field on 75 minutes on Thursday evening after sustaining a knock to his ankle. Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly are all in out along with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot, Angel Gomes and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Brighton will still be without Bernardo and Jose Izquierdo for the game on Sunday. Adam Webster is also sidelined after the defender injured his ankle against Norwich City last weekend.

Brighton have lost 13 of their 14 Premier League away matches against established top-six opposition. The aggregate score in those 14 fixtures was 30-3. But under Potter, this is a fresh looking Albion outfit and their attacking play has been backed up by a solid defence this season.

They have registered four Premier League clean sheets - only Manchester City and Sheffield United, with five, have more.

Potter added, "It's one of the best places in world football and with that comes a quality opposition. We want to go there and be ourselves and represent ourselves as best we can. We go there with full respect to them but at the same time we want to carry on improving."