You don’t know you’ve got til it’s gone, as the song tells us.

Albion turned that on its head as they hit a few high notes at Bramall Lane.


It was more a case of realising what you’ve got when it returns – and wondering how you ever coped without it.

‘It’ refers to the wingers double-act with which Albion romped to a 5-0 win at Sheffield United.

Adam Lallana spoke on Friday about the wonders worked by Roberto De Zerbi when he had no available wide players.

What we saw on the return to Sheffield emphasised Lallana’s point.

Because the 90 minutes underlined how influential those wingers are.

Without them, De Zerbi had used wide midfielders. Basically, players operating like central midfielders but wide.

He allowed Joao Pedro to drift, he pushed Tariq Lamptey forward.

Lallana marvelled at the way they scored four against Tottenham with no wingers or full-backs.

Re-united at Sheffield United, Mitoma and Adingra looked unplayable and irreplaceable.

But Albion, at times, replaced them. After a fashion, at least.

They scored four at home twice, they got four and five in the FA Cup.

But they were also missed. Albion would have won at West Ham had either Adingra or Mitoma played, let alone both of them.

It is maybe no coincidence that the great entertainers played successive 0-0 draws and went five hours without a league goal while their wingers were out.

But, generally, they have hung on in there - eight goals and eight points in five Prem games without both wing stars plus progress through two away ties in the FA Cup.

That tough period could be the making of Albion this season.

Contrast that to, for example, Crystal Palace, currently going through their own challenges.

Palace and Roy Hodgson have had a tough time and, to knowing nods, it appears those woes are being associated to the ongoing absence of their two most creative and exciting players.

It is a fair point but, again, it underlines how well Albion have done to dig in when the going has been more uphill of late.

To find answers without Mitoma, Adingra, Julio Enciso, Ansu Fati, Solly March.

Not always but often enough.

De Zerbi was asked about the return of Mitoma and Adingra as he spoke to reporters in the media room at Bramall Lane.

He quickly reminded that others are still missing. That Enciso has been away for six months.

But we are now getting to the situation to which he has looked forward for weeks now.

Getting more of his players back. That is what he wanted when we asked about transfer targets in January.

We are not there yet. While some players have returned or are about to, others have now been sidelined.

At Sheffield, though, with the two wingers in partnership for the first time in two months, Albion stretched admittedly limited opposition and probably should have created more chances than they actually did.

Part of that limitation on United was self-inflicted thanks to Mason Holgate.

But that came down to the potential threat Mitoma would pose.

Holgate went in to neutralise that threat and paid the price.

Having lambasted that lunge, former England and Premier League striker Alan Shearer looked at the Albion supply line.

Shearer told his Match Of The Day audience: “I was watching this game thinking I’d love to be a forward with this Brighton team.

“The way they operate, the way they get people into the box but more importantly for a forward, the way they get the ball into the box, the quality balls.

“Both players either side have got the skill to go past players.

“They gave the full-backs a torrid time, whether they were going past them, whether they were putting early balls into the box which makes it really difficult for defenders.”

Imagine life without them.