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‘Clinical’ Ronaldo continues to make the right impression on Graham Potter

Cristiano Ronaldo has impressed amid a disappointing season for Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)
Cristiano Ronaldo has impressed amid a disappointing season for Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)

Brighton boss Graham Potter has acclaimed the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo but hopes the Manchester United forward fluffs his lines on Saturday.

United have endured a disappointing season and appear destined to finish outside the Premier League’s top four, but Ronaldo has emerged as a shining light by scoring 24 goals in 37 games.

The 37-year-old was on target when the rivals last clashed in February and Potter knows his side cannot switch off at any moment.

“I’ve been so impressed with Ronaldo, how he’s played, how he’s helped his team,” Potter said.

“Scoring goals, his movement is sensational and you can see how his career has developed from wide to centrally and how that can help him now.

“Obviously he’s not getting any younger, but you still retain your brain and your football understanding. His finishing is as clinical as you’ll get.

“It’s a great experience for our players and hopefully he doesn’t have such a good day at the Amex on Saturday.”

Reflecting on the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford on February 15, Potter said: “For the first goal we made a mistake and Ronaldo punished us like Ronaldo does. That’s maybe the learning experience from that game.

“Whatever you say about United’s season, they’ve still got some fantastic players who can hurt you in a second.

“That’s our challenge – to play well again and do everything pretty much close to perfect.

“We have to survive the moment that you need to survive and that’s what it is like against the top teams.”

Brighton have already amassed their record number Premier League of wins and points with their current run of three victories and a draw from five matches offering sight of completing their most successful season in the top flight.

“The challenge of the Premier League is that you go through periods when things don’t go your way and you get your backside kicked,” Potter said.

“You have to get up and respond to that and be together in the tough times because there are lots of external experts who will be critical, which is normal. That’s partly what makes football so interesting.

“But from our perspective, we just carry on with our work and carry on trying to develop the club. I’m proud of the work we’ve done and we’re an ambitious team, but as always there is room to improve.”

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