Brighton boss Graham Potter believes dealing with the mental strain of living in isolation is one of the biggest challenges facing his players during the postponement of the Premier League.
Albion’s squad, one of whom has tested positive for coronavirus, have all remained in the UK and are following government advice by socially distancing because of the global crisis.
Players have been taking part in online training sessions in order to remain in contact and maintain physical fitness, while head coach Potter is regularly checking on their psychological wellbeing during one-to-one conversations.
The 44-year-old feels issues such as boredom and missing family could have a significant detrimental effect on society as a whole and has praised the collective response of his squad to coping with testing circumstances.
“We know that people are struggling on the front line and the NHS are having massive challenges and us at home we need to make sure that we’re keeping ourselves right on a psychological level because isolation is not something that as human beings is so easy for us to do,” Potter said during a video link press conference.
“If anything, it (mental health) is a priority at the moment because it’s a global crisis, the economy of this country is in lockdown, which I’m pretty sure has an effect on people.
“When I’ve spoken to the players, they’ve impressed me, to be fair – how they’ve taken the opportunity to see it as a time to reflect, to appreciate, to be worried about the outside world, if you like.
— Shane Duffy (@shaneduffy)March 26, 2020
“It’s a unique situation in terms of isolation, so you’ve got things like boredom, missing friends and missing the activities you’d normally do.
“But they’re all intelligent enough and socially aware enough to understand the bigger picture as well, that we’re in this horrendous situation and they want to try and stay positive and support each other through it.
“Some of the players are missing their families, and that’s something we can sympathise with, but we just felt that it was right for us to limit international travel, to stay at home, to be safe here.”
During Thursday’s video conference, Brighton chief executive Paul Barber revealed an unnamed player was “OK” after testing positive for Covid-19.
Albion have shown support for health workers by starting an initiative to provide free tickets for NHS frontline staff once football resumes.
Club staff, including Barber and Potter, have also been making phone calls to members of the community in a bid to lift spirits.
Potter, whose current duties include helping to homeschool his three young children, admits it impossible to perform his regular role during the current predicament.
“In terms of my job, I can’t do it. That is the truth. But you have to use the situation as positively as you can,” he said.
“We can still speak as a coaching group. We can still analyse and prepare for the upcoming games.
“We can still do our jobs, just not the jobs we would do in a normal circumstance. This is unprecedented and we have to adapt.”
“My message would be to think of others and follow the Government’s advice.
— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC)March 25, 2020
Brighton CEO Barber says the club are yet to consider pay cuts for staff and expressed commitment to preserving jobs.
“What we haven’t done yet is look at people’s wages. That’s obviously a very big part of our costs and without any income any business is going to be struggling,” he said.
“We’re very aware that the situation in the country is very grave at the moment, so it seems wrong for us to be talking about money at a time when people are losing their lives.
“We’re just focused on doing what we can to keep people employed, keep people’s morale up as best we can and do our little bit for the community.”