Brighton tell Ever­ton the value of a bold ap­point­ment

Pot­ter’s play­ing style gets bet­ter of un­der-fire Silva Hol­gate fumes at cru­cial VAR call in late 3-2 loss

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Football - Tom Pren­tki at the Amex Sta­dium

On Satur­day evening #Sil­vaout was once again trend­ing on Twit­ter. Bullish pre-sea­son talk and plenty of in­vest­ment led many Ever­to­ni­ans to be­lieve that this was the sea­son to crash the top-six party. They still might but, with a mea­gre 10 points from as many games, Marco Silva’s side are in the bot­tom, not top, six.

De­spite re­newed op­ti­mism fol­low­ing a con­vinc­ing home win over West Ham United, Ever­ton’s tra­vails con­tinue away from Good­i­son Park, most re­cently seen in their dra­matic and con­tro­ver­sial 3-2 de­feat by Brighton and Hove Al­bion, whom they now trail by two points. They have col­lected only a soli­tary point away from home so far this sea­son.

Those sup­port­ers call­ing for change may be cast­ing en­vi­ous glances to­wards the Amex Sta­dium, where Graham Pot­ter is bring­ing about a new cul­ture and play­ing style with the early signs en­cour­ag­ing.

Ap­pre­cia­tive of his achieve­ments but in­creas­ingly rest­less with Chris Hughton’s more prag­matic ap­proach, Brighton gam­bled and went for a man untested at the high­est level.

Should the Good­i­son hi­er­ar­chy make a change, then an equally bold ap­point­ment may be needed if they are to truly dis­rupt the Premier League peck­ing or­der.

The party line is hold­ing for now. “One hun­dred per cent” said Ma­son Hol­gate when asked whether the play­ers were still be­hind the Por­tuguese man­ager.

“That shows in the last two per­for­mances we’ve put out. Last week we were all un­be­liev­able and then this week we were do­ing re­ally well and then there was a de­ci­sion that just com­pletely put the game on its head,” the de­fender re­fer­ring to the harsh de­ci­sion to give Brighton an 80th-minute penalty, the first awarded by a video as­sis­tant ref­eree.

Pot­ter, too, had his op­po­site num­ber’s back, say­ing that it was clear the Ever­ton play­ers were “ab­so­lutely” play­ing for the man­ager.

“They had great in­ten­sity and struc­ture and a great work ethic,” he said, be­fore ac­knowl­edg­ing:

1 Goal more Brighton have scored af­ter 10 games this sea­son un­der Graham Pot­ter

“Some­times if you spend money it does put a bit of pres­sure on and you have to get re­sults quicker.”

As quickly as to­mor­row for Silva. There has been no sil­ver­ware on the blue side of Liver­pool since 1995 and a League Cup tie against his for­mer club Wat­ford at Good­i­son Park presents them with a route to the quar­ter-fi­nals.

The head­lines from the Amex were all about VAR. As Aaron Con­nolly fell af­ter a com­ing to­gether with Michael Keane, there were few protests as the play­ers re­sumed their po­si­tions for Ever­ton’s goal-kick.

But Con­nolly con­firmed that he said to An­drew Madley that he should award a penalty and, af­ter Lee Ma­son, the VAR, checked the re­plays, that is what hap­pened.

Clear and ob­vi­ous? Not to many at the Amex, and Hol­gate and his team-mates re­mained ag­grieved long af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

“It showed when ev­ery­one was run­ning back to their po­si­tions that no­body ex­pected it,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously we need to look at the third goal, but that was a huge turning point.”

“It’s a penalty,” coun­tered Brighton striker Con­nolly. “He’s trod down on my foot. He’s prob­a­bly not look­ing at me, but I think it’s a penalty and VAR thought that, too. If he didn’t tread down on me I’d have got on to the ball at least.”

2 Points bet­ter off Brighton were at the same stage last sea­son un­der their pre­vi­ous man­ager, Chris Hughton

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