Graham Potter believes a heavy defeat at the Etihad set his side up to claim some precious points before Christmas.

They are points which could help mathematically secure safety in the first few days.

And they came on a wave which has been rekindled of late with pleasing results and/or performances since lockdown.

Manchester City are at the Amex this evening to complete the ultimate three-part test following visits of United and Liverpool.

It is getting on for 11 months since Seagulls and City last met.

That may well be a record for the longest period of time between home and away fixtures in the same season.

If it is, it will be broken on Thursday when Albion go to Southampton.

That has meant plenty of time for Potter and his team to do what they always try to do – learn from the experience.

Albion lost 4-0 at the Etihad in August but came home with heads held high because of a lot of the football they played.

There was plenty of promise there.

Whether that promise has been totally realised throughout an arduous campaign is open to question.

But their performance that day in defeat gave impetus for some important wins.

The underlying trend in terms of the way they are going to play has continued – the results of which have been seen at times in the last two home games.

Or in that fine goal which secured points at Norwich.

Potter told The Argus: “We’ve gone through quite a lot since then.

“We had a positive period after that game. I think we saw a few things in that game that were good.

“How we could build our attacks and how we could get to the next stage. I think that started that process off.

“Then we hit a bit of a tough period into the New Year where, for different reasons, we couldn’t find a win and then you are under a bit of pressure.

“We had to come through that moment and it took until after the lockdown, really, to come through it.

“As a group, we have been through that process together, we have had those disappointments.

“We are still learning, we are still improving but I think we are stronger as a group for it, that’s for sure.

“The scoreline that day was what it was and not a scoreline we particularly like.

“But, in terms of how we played and what we were trying to do, we did get a bit of confidence and a bit of belief.

“I think we used that over the next batch of games.

“The challenge for us is to really understand that and to make that better.

“To convince everybody that is the way we can go to get results that maybe you don’t think you can get.”

City kicked off and crowned a two-year period of domination at the Amex.

They started the 2017-18 season there and returned to secure the 2018-19 title on the final day.

Liverpool have left them well adrift in terms of points this time and yet Pep Guardiola’s side have been breathtaking at times.

Potter said: “For the most important metric, which is points, they are not top, which is why Liverpool are the best and the best at what they do.

“They fully deserve to be champions.

“In terms of performance, then Manchester City’s performance level isn’t so far off what it was last year.

“That’s the beauty of football. You can play well and you can lose. That’s how it is.

“That’s why we love it so much and why it drives us insane as well.

“They’re a top team still. It’s been great for the Premier League to see these two teams battle it out for the top. There’s some great quality amongst them both.

“It’s fantastic for the competition that they’re pushing each other and credit to both clubs for sustaining a period of excellence that we haven’t seen for a while.”