Albion head coach Graham Potter believes Aaron Connolly is too hard on himself.

It has been a tough few months for the striker who had several injuries since the turn of the year which have ruled him out of five of their Premier League games.

He has only started two matches in 2021 for the Seagulls against Burnley and West Brom in February.

In both of those games, Connolly missed big chances.

He played in one of the Republic of Ireland’s matches during the international break against Serbia, which he started before then going off injured.

In his 15 appearances so far this season in the league, the 21-year-old has scored two goals.

That has led to fans being critical of the striker.

But Potter admits that Connolly is his own biggest critic.

He said: I think he’s very self-critical. Sometimes a bit too much.

“He’s frustrated with where he’s at at the moment because he’s had one or two issues off the field, a few injuries, his form maybe isn’t where he would like it to be and so you can tend to focus on the negatives, and certainly in this world where it is often very negative, you can spiral into a place that isn’t necessarily that good for you.

“So it’s important to balance it off for him and whilst it’s important to recognise the things he can improve.

“It’s also [important] to acknowledge the things he is doing well, and how young he is and how difficult it is for an attacking player to succeed regularly in the Premier League.

“It doesn’t happen very often, he’s in his early 20s and he’s at the start of his career in the most competitive league in the world.

“That’s the challenge when you are developing young players.

“They are used to succeeding, they have got to this level because they succeed all the time and then they come to the Premier League and it’s not quite as easy as it was.

“How they manage that and how they deal with that is where the work is.

“But he’s a good kid, he’s a good lad, he wants to improve, he wants to do better, and we’ve got to just try and help him.”

But despite Connolly having yet to find his feet this season, Potter believes he can be proud of what he has already achieved in his career.

He said: “There is a reason why it’s not so easy to break into the highest level as a young player because you haven’t quite got that consistency of action on and off the pitch, maybe.

“You’ve not quite developed everything that you need to do to compete at the highest level.

“Most 21-year-olds are not at the maximum of their professional careers, most 21-year-olds are doing other stuff and enjoying themselves.

“You’ve got to remember that these guys are young people that are still learning about life.

“As a Premier League team, I can only speak for us, we have to understand that he is developing, that he is going to make mistakes, he’s not quite at his maximum and we have to help him through that.”