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Graham Potter insists he has ‘nothing to apologise for’ after being booed by Brighton fans

Graham Potter admitted he was left to ‘look a bit of a fool’ after suffering a nightmare return to his former club.

Chelsea were humiliated at Brighton after falling three goals behind by half-time, with the hosts exploiting the Londoners down the flanks where Potter deployed Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic as wing-backs.

Potter, who abandoned the set-up at half-time, said: ‘I understand that whenever you do something and it doesn’t work you look a bit of a fool. I have to accept that, deal with that, do better, and I’ll learn.

Graham Potter returned to Brighton for the first time on Saturday in Chelsea’s 4-1 defeat

Potter's former side put in a superb performance to half the progres of his new team

Potter’s former side put in a superb performance to half the progres of his new team  

‘That’s the process. If you lose you have to look at it and if you’ve made a mistake or got things wrong, you have to analyse it and do better.’

Brighton fans relished taunting Potter after his departure to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

He said: ‘I have nothing to say sorry for or apologise for. I did a good job, you can see the team is a good team. I took over when they were fourth from bottom in the Premier League and were probably the third-worst team.

‘I hope for their sake, the next managers do as good a job and that’s brilliant for them.’

Chelsea drop to fifth in the Premier League standings, three points behind Newcastle in fourth

Chelsea drop to fifth in the Premier League standings, three points behind Newcastle in fourth

Thiago Silva's (pictured) misplaced pass allowed Brighton and Leandro Trossard to score first

Thiago Silva’s (pictured) misplaced pass allowed Brighton and Leandro Trossard to score first

Potter added: ‘The scoreline was painful. Brighton played a good game, especially in the first half.

‘You can always look at goals and think you can do better. We have had a lot of football but that’s no excuse.’

Goals from Leandro Trossard and Pascal Gross, along with two own goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah condemnded the visitors to the loss, with Kai Havertz hitting one back for the Blues.

Despite the heavy defeat, Potter refused to throw his Chelsea stars ‘under the bus’.

‘It’s the Premier League, so everywhere is difficult,’ said Potter. ‘Brighton are a good side, I know that and with the crowd and the atmosphere they created, they put you under pressure.

‘We made a couple of unforced errors to start everything off but that can happen.

‘I’m not going to throw the players under the bus at all because they’ve been brilliant for us – they’ve given everything for me.

‘I have to take responsibility and try to find a way for us to do better.’

Potter was booed by Brighton fans on his return but insisted he 'had nothing to apologise for'

Potter was booed by Brighton fans on his return but insisted he ‘had nothing to apologise for’ 

Potter managed Brighton for just over three years after arriving in May 2019, leading the Seagulls to 15th, 16th and 9th during his tenure – last season’s 9th placed finish was the club’s highest-ever in the top flight. 

He received jeers – and a smattering of applause – when he stepped off the team coach, while there were further boos when he emerged from the tunnel.

Brighton fed off their fans’ hostile energy and quickly took control of the contest during a blistering start in which chants of “Potter, what’s the score?” grew louder, followed by playful questioning of his job security.

It was a painful defeat for Chelsea as they went 3-0 down inside the first half of the game

It was a painful defeat for Chelsea as they went 3-0 down inside the first half of the game

‘Once the crowd were so engaged it was a difficult one for us,’ he said. ‘The scoreline was painful. Brighton played a good game, especially in the first half.’

However, despite defeat, he was full of praise for his former team and their fans.

He said:  ‘They played well, the atmosphere was really intense here. We didn’t necessarily match that level of intensity.

‘Brighton were dangerous. We were pushing and pushing and throwing players on, but Brighton deserved it. You have to say congratulations to them.

‘Brighton were better at what they did, so we have to take that as a lesson – even though that’s a painful one for us.

‘The intensity (from Brighton) was there and we suffered a little bit. The players are an honest bunch – we win and lose together – so we have to take stock and move forward.’

Brighton's victory was the first for Potter's replacement Roberto De Zerbi since taking over

Brighton’s victory was the first for Potter’s replacement Roberto De Zerbi since taking over

The victory was the first for Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi since replacing Potter and the Italian was delighted to get the three points which moves his side up to eighth.

A delighted Roberto De Zerbi celebrated his first win as Brighton boss, having joined after being forced to leave Shakhtar Donetsk in July following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said: ‘I had already a great team that Putin decided to take away from me. In that moment I found another team and I have to be very thankful to Brighton.

‘We must continue to play this level of football. The atmosphere was fantastic. Our fans were the best player on the pitch.’

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