Brighton must take the FA Cup more seriously after being scraped by West Brom

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They say you learn the hard way.

During 80 minutes when Brighton stared down at the barrel of an FA Cup departure to Championship side West Brom, Graham Potter could probably hear the criticism crashing against him.

A replacement bench in the FA Cup’s third round match that included Marc Cucurella, Jakub Moder, Leandro Trossard, Alexis Mac Allister and Robert Sanchez suggests that priorities lie elsewhere. After all, you can not have your cake and eat it at the same time.

It was therefore inevitable that it was Brighton’s strength from the bench that ultimately saved Seagull’s place in the next round.

Two substitutes were combined when Mother took home Brighton’s equalizer in regular time, before a combination of the Polish national team player and Trossard made Neal Maupay push the winner home seven minutes into extra time.

Mother’s introduction changed the game / Shaun Botterill / GettyImages

A championship from Potter, some may claim, but it’s a consequence of Brighton’s bigger spending on their squad in recent years. At a net cost of £ 200 million, Potter – and his predecessors – have intelligently shaped the Seagulls into an established Premier League team.

Throw in Cedric Kipre’s second half red card for West Brom and the equalizer from Mother had a sense of inevitability over it. It will be crucial that Potter learns his lesson going forward in this competition.

The Seagulls boss was criticized when he sent out a heavily rotated team in defeat to the final winners Leicester in the last 16 last season.

Brighton’s starting eleven against West Brom was certainly stronger compared to that day at King Power Stadium, but the Seagulls loyalists will not be prepared to go to the cliff edge against inferior opponents every time many will see the FA Cup as their top priority this season .

The site’s inability to find the back of the net with any great regularity – which may be addressed with additions in January – could put European qualification beyond them. Seagulls are currently in 9th place in the Premier League, with both the floor and the ceiling for their ambitions a couple of places in both directions.

Cup competitions offer supporters a tangible reward for their team’s ability, as Leicester attested last season. Ask a Leicester supporter to share their memories of that afternoon at Wembley and your ear will burn in a matter of seconds. Ask them to tell you when they secured European football under Rodgers for the first time with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United in July 2020 and they may need a double.

Leicester celebrate their FA Cup success / Marc Atkins / GettyImages

Brighton’s league performances provide proof that the cup’s glory this season is within their reach.

In the midst of a hectic match schedule and a host of suspensions, Potter will be forced to dig deep into the team’s reserves to maintain performance levels.

But there must be an insight that the FA Cup does not constitute the same glass ceiling that exists in the Premier League. The magic of the cup is exactly what it says on the jar: magic.

Potter’s regular starts saved him at the Hawthorns. The next step is to get them on the field from the beginning and avoid annoying business like this.

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