Alireza Jahanbakhsh stakes claim with starring role for Brighton

Graham Potter says Alireza Jahanbakhsh is knocking on the door of Brighton’s Premier League starting XI following a standout display in the 4-0 Carabao Cup thrashing of Portsmouth.

Iran forward Jahanbakhsh teed up the first-half opener for Alexis Mac Allister before thumping home a superb second to double the Seagulls’ advantage early in the second period.

Bernardo and Viktor Gyokeres joined Mac Allister in claiming their first Albion goals to seal a resounding success over outclassed League One opposition.

Jahanbakhsh, who was a late substitute in Monday’s top-flight opener against Chelsea, has largely been a peripheral figure since a £17million move from AZ Alkmaar in 2018.

But Brighton boss Potter has been impressed with the 27-year-old’s attitude and insists he still has a part to play at the Amex Stadium.

“(I am) really pleased with him, he’s pushing. It was another really good performance, I thought tonight,” said Potter.

“He played with enthusiasm and quality. He was in the squad at the weekend, came on, so he’s pushing hard.

“The hardest part of my job is to pick a team and not play players.

“He’s got some quality and he’ll play a part for us this season.”

Graham Potter
Graham Potter

Following Monday’s defeat to Frank Lampard’s Blues, Potter changed his entire starting XI for the second-round tie and filled his bench with inexperienced youngsters.

The raft of changes, which included a debut for Holland defender Joel Veltman, never looked likely to backfire as the hosts dominated possession all evening.

Albion will travel to Championship club Preston in the next round and Potter was pleased with the professionalism displayed by his squad players.

“I thought it was a really good performance, a performance with a real good attitude from the team,” he said.

“Portsmouth competed and we had to be professional and we had to treat the game in a good way, which I think we did.

“We managed to score the goals and keep the clean sheet. The attitude was really pleasing. They approached it impeccably.”

Portsmouth rarely threatened stand-in Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele and contributed to their own downfall with some sloppy defending.

Portsmouth’s Sean Raggett, second left, heads wide
Portsmouth’s Sean Raggett, second left, heads wide

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett admitted it was a difficult evening for his players and was frustrated they were unable to snatch something from a series of set-pieces.

“Against a Premier League side like that, you can’t make those type of mistakes,” said Jackett.

“I felt it was a tough night and Brighton deserved to win.

“One or two goals were avoidable but I think we got ourselves into good positions. If you look at our corner count, it was into double figures against a Premier League side. We couldn’t, unfortunately, make that pay.

“While they had more possession, if you get into those situations as the lower-league side you have to capitalise and unfortunately we couldn’t. That would have maybe given us more of a chance to lay a glove on them.”