Neal Maupay: Championship or Premier League...It does not matter to me, I will always score goals
Neal Maupay insists he is finding his rhythm and his best is still to come after his impressive display against Burnley at the Amex last Saturday.
Maupay scored his second goal of the season with a clever finish to open the scoring during a 1-1 draw with Burnley. The Frenchman, who joined for £16m from Brentford during the summer, was a menace to the visitors’ defence throughout with his movement and eye for goal.
“The Premier League is the best league in the world,” said Maupay. “I scored goals in the Championship and I know I can score goals here too. I have a lot of belief in my quality and I’m still trying to find my best rhythm and my best position on the pitch.
“I am discovering a new team, new teammates and new manager. It is not always easy, I didn’t play a full preseason so I’m not at my best yet.
“It was the first time I played together with Glenn (Murray). We were trying to find the connection together, so we need to work on that. It was good with him, he knows exactly what is happening on the pitch. He has got quality and it helps me having him by my side.
“I have always played through the centre but I need to adapt to the team. If I need to play wide, I will do it without a problem. If you want to help the team, you got to do what the manager wants. That is what I do.
“Even if I think my best position is striker, if I need to be on the right side of the pitch, left wing, midfield, anywhere...you just got to play and do your best.”
Maupay ended a physical match against Burnley nursing a cut head and face after a clash with Ashley Westwood. Stud marks were clearly visible on the Albion striker’s face as he spoke about the physicality of the Premier League compared to the Championship.
“It is quicker in the Premier. Every player plays quicker and knows what they are going to do with the ball quicker. That is the main difference for me. But as a striker I know I will get chances and I know I will score goals, so it does not really matter if it’s Championship or Premier.
“The physicality is no different for me. The defenders in the championship are big as well, so I’m used to it.”
Brighton have not won at the Amex since they beat Huddersfield on March 2. Graham Potter’s men were close to ending that run until Burnley’s Jeff Hendricks popped up with a late equaliser. It was tough on Albion but they were punished for failing to convert a number of decent chances. The fact Brighton had not won at home for so long was a stat Maupay was unaware of until he was told by a reporter in the mixed zone after the match.
“We can’t focus on that,” he said. “We need to focus as a team and how we can get better. It will come, we have the right mindset and we are working hard. It was not today but if we keep playing like that it will be very soon.
“We do create opportunities but we can do better. We only scored the one goal today. If we can be more efficient we can score one, two, three goals easily and make games easier for us. But it is just five games since the start of the season. We need to keep working hard and keep believing in our quality.”
It was Maupay’s third Premier League start in succession, and Potter believes he will improve as his match fitness develops. “He struggled a bit towards the start of the game, but that was probably down to the team performance.
“He kept going and that’s what he’s about. He links up well and runs in behind. His finish was a good goal and he’s a good character.
“He’ll improve the more he plays. People forget that he didn’t play any games in pre-season so he’s playing catch up to a certain extent. It was a full match of minutes and he’ll only get stronger and stronger.”