Neal Maupay will be on the edge when Albion face their fiercest foes this evening.

That is just the way the Seagulls and their fans like it.

But boss Graham Potter has backed him to keep emotions in check.

Maupay scored right at the end to force a highly-charged 1-1 draw when the sides met at Selhurst Park in September.

He celebrated in front of the home fans, mimicking the way Wilf Zaha had tried to wind up Seagulls supporters when he put Palace ahead earlier in the match.

Maupay is likely to be fired up in a red hot atmosphere again tonight.

Potter said: “It’s an emotional game. You need that and Neal brings that.

“It’s about using that to make you better and what you don’t want to do is it goes the other way and it’s not helping you.

“Ultimately we’re here to help Neal and help all our players play as well as they can, maximise their performance and maximise their careers, have as many matches, make as much money, however you want to say it, you try to maximise it and whatever you do, try and use it to your best rather than use it against you.”

Potter believes Maupay has a fresh outlook on football this term.

He added: “We’ve had lots of conversations over the years, spent a lot of time with each other and we have a good relationship and a good understanding.

“Last year wasn’t easy. The narrative was we were missing chances and it’s pretty much Neal’s fault, really, if you listen to a lot of the noise.

“That’s not easy to deal with when you’re in lockdown, you can’t see your family, friends, you’ve got different stuff going on.

“He went home to France, had his baby, probably was able to zoom out and look at things with a different perspective and come back with a different mentality.

“He has developed as a player and as a person and credit to him for that.”

Maupay would love a first home goal versus Palace after finding the net twice in three seasons at Selhurst Park.

He struck very late there this term and has also netted in the closing stages at Southampton and West Ham, with Danny Welbeck doing similarly at Chelsea.

Potter says the late strikes are no coincidence.

He added: “I think it’s an important thing to have as a team.

“If you remember Manchester United and Fergie time, so it’s called, good teams can keep going and they get things at the end of matches.

“It’s a nice quality to have.

“It’s also nice to get the game wrapped up early, which is something we will try to do.


“But it’s not so easy. That’s the truth of the Premier League and it’s the truth of the game that we play.

“So, keep going until the end and do our best.”

Palace have also scored late in this fixture and Potter respects their attacking work.

The Seagulls boss said: “I think they have built on the foundation that was there under Roy (Hodgson), added some really good players, some young players, some different types of player, made - I think - the team more attacking.

“They defend in a different way, higher up the pitch, more aggressive.

“I really like what they have done, really impressed with what they have done.

“Wee know it’s going to be a good and a tough game.”