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Graham Potter happy to see Yves Bissouma contribute to Brighton victory

Bissouma and Steven Alzate scored the goals for the Seagulls.

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Yves Bissouma scored a stunning goal for Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Yves Bissouma scored a stunning goal for Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Yves Bissouma scored a stunning goal for Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Graham Potter admits he was growing tired of Yves Bissouma’s wayward shooting before the midfielder stylishly set Brighton on course for a 2-1 FA Cup win over Blackpool.

Mali international Bissouma had been off target with a couple of early efforts but made amends in eye-catching fashion by thundering into the top left corner from fully 30 yards.

A fortuitous second-half winner from Steven Alzate deservedly sent the Seagulls into round five after Gary Madine briefly levelled for the League One visitors.

Having bit his tongue as Bissouma lined up the stunning opener, Albion head coach Potter was delighted to be pleasantly surprised.

“We’re getting a bit frustrated with him because he had a couple of shots before that that were scuffed along the floor,” said Potter, whose side will travel to Brentford or Leicester in the next round.

“And, when he shot, I was nearly close to getting frustrated again and then you see it fly in the top corner and it’s hard to argue with that.

“He keeps telling me he’s got that quality and that ability to strike from distance and we’re happy for him, happy that he’s contributed to the game and us getting through to the next round.”

Bissouma has been arguably Brighton’s standout performer this season, prompting links with a host of Europe’s top clubs, including Real Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal.

After retrieving Alzate’s loose pass, the Mali international sidestepped Seasiders midfielder Matty Virtue before unleashing a dipping drive into the top left corner in the 27th minute.

Potter believes the 24-year-old has the potential to play Champions League football but insists he is not currently concerned about him being sold.

“He’s got that quality (to play in the Champions League), he’s got those attributes that you need at that level,” said Potter.

“It’s about him being consistent enough to do that. I think he’s made steps with that but there’s still more to do and more to come.

“It’s just nice that our players have taken a step forward, it’s nice for Yves that he’s taken a step forward. You never know anything in football these days.

“But from his perspective, I think he’s happy here, he wants to help the team, so we are quite relaxed about everything.”

After Alzate deflected in Alexis Mac Allister’s long-range effort in the 58th minute, Brighton wasted a host of chances to guarantee progression.

Potter felt the small margin of victory was the only negative ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League showdown with fellow strugglers Fulham.

“That’s probably the only bit that we can say we can do better with,” he said of their profligacy.

“I thought we controlled the game but while it’s only by one goal, anything can happen, especially in this competition.

“Credit to Blackpool, they were organised, and it’s nice for us to go through.”

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hailed the “first class” efforts of his side but bemoaned their lack of luck with the decisive goal and inability to force a second equaliser.

Critchley’s pre-match preparation was impacted by coronavirus after five of the club’s players and staff returned positive results on Friday.

“We had a plan for this game but, with some of those players missing, it did create a little bit of a dilemma,” said Critchley.

“We decided to go with the plan we had and I thought the players carried that out extremely well.

“If it wasn’t for a wonder strike and a deflected shot then, until near the end of the game when we changed shape, they didn’t create too many clear opportunities.

“Our character and endeavour was first class. I couldn’t be prouder of the players’ efforts today.

“We were always in the game, we did everything we could physically but we just weren’t quite good enough to create that opportunity near the end that might have got us into extra-time.”

PA


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