Graham Potter has asked Brighton fans to forgive his decision to “grasp a new opportunity” after he left the club to join Chelsea.

Potter moved to Chelsea on five-year contract earlier this week after Todd Boehly sacked Thomas Tuchel. The managerial change came quickly, with Potter officially confirmed as the new Blues boss just a day after Tuchel’s shock departure.

Chelsea had to pay around £20million to Brighton in compensation in order to hire Potter, his assistant Billy Reid, first-team coaches Bjorn Hamberg and Bruno and head of recruitment Kyle Macauley. Brighton, who gave Potter permission to speak with Boehly, are yet to appoint a replacement for the man who guided them to 15th, 16th and 9th place finishes in the Premier League after arriving from Swansea City.

Potter was quick to pay tribute to Brighton and owner Tony Bloom in his statement upon joining Chelsea on Thursday. But he has now gone into more detail in an open letter on the Brighton club website, which was written earlier in the week but held back following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Potter wrote: “This has been three wonderful years with a club that has changed my life, and I want to take a moment to say goodbye to all of you who have made it such a special period of my career.

“I bid farewell to a great club and one that will always mean so much to me and my family. For some I recognise that the change that comes so suddenly in football can be hard to accept. I may not be able to persuade you all to forgive my departure – but I would at least like to take the chance to say thank you.

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Graham Potter enjoyed some great times at Brighton

“All good clubs need great owners and great fans. Brighton & Hove Albion have both. I will cherish the relationships I built in all aspects of the club. My players went above and beyond. My staff gave everything. At the heart of it were the Albion fans. On every matchday at the Amex, the connection with the team was strong. When we played away you came in your thousands to roar us on. I know what you have been through to see your club finally in a modern stadium and thriving in the Premier League. I felt it every time I stood on the touchline.

“To those of you who stopped to chat when I was in the city or further afield – and the many who wrote to me – all those connections meant a great deal. Your personal stories of following the club – of parents and grandparents who were fans – helped me to understand what makes Albion special.

“I hope that you will understand that at this stage of my career, I felt I had to grasp a new opportunity.”

Potter is yet to be formally presented as Chelsea manager after his his press conference was cancelled out of respect for the Queen. Chelsea’s match against Fulham on Saturday was postponed, meaning Potter’s first game in charge should be against Red Bull Salzburg at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Wednesday.