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Slaven Bilic aims to check Brighton’s progress

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea – Premier League – The Hawthorns
(Image credit: Laurence Griffiths)

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic believes Graham Potter’s career has been like a movie but is plotting to ensure there is no happy ending against the Baggies.

The Albion chief feels Brighton manager Potter’s rise could come from Hollywood ahead of Monday’s meeting at the Amex.

Potter was studying for his masters in Leeds when Bilic was managing Croatia while he also worked with Ghana women’s team at the 2007 World Cup and managed Ostersunds in Sweden before moving to Swansea and then Brighton in 2019.

He kept the Seagulls in the Premier League last season and Bilic has huge admiration for Potter’s career path.

He said: “It’s from a movie, that shows his quality but also his determination to do it.

“I read a bit about him when he was in Sweden and probably there were moments on his journey when he thought ‘why? There’s no chance’ but where there’s a will there’s a way.

“They played Arsenal (Ostersunds winning 2-1 at the Emirates in the Europa League in 2018) and England got to recognise him.

“He deserves it and it’s a great example for people that you can fulfil your dreams.”

Potter made 47 appearances, between 1997 and 2000, for West Brom and went to on to play for York, Boston and Macclesfield.

Ostersunds FK Training Session and Press Conference – Emirates Stadium

Graham Potter excelled against Arsenal with Ostersunds (Adam Davy/PA)

He had a brief spell in the Premier League with Southampton before moving to The Hawthorns having started his career at Birmingham.

And Bilic believes those managers who did not have an elite playing career need to force their way through.

He said: “It’s a big question across Europe. Definitely it’s harder for them to get a chance but they can also become more complete because they can invest more in knowledge.

“They can start from scratch and it’s very difficult for a top player to start low in the academies.

“Eventually if they make it, it’s a longer path, but it can be more complete. But nothing can replace the know-how you have from when you were a player.

“I’m not saying you have to win the Ballon d’Or but you have to spend a year in one team and feel that competitiveness and importance of when you’re a member of a group when the life of the families are depending on the result.”