At his pre-match press conference, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton spoke about maintaining his focus after securing promotion, commented on the national reaction after reaching the Premier League, looked at Norwich’s unexpected ranking in the league table, and backed his players to go up as champions this season.
“In the position I’m in, it probably has to sink in a little bit quicker than everybody else, because I have to prepare a team for tomorrow [v Norwich] and the next two games.
“What we want to be able to do is give a good account of ourselves. We’ve been able to do that all season and it’s not something that we want to stop doing now.
“I probably have to focus that little bit more, but everything surrounding the last few days has been expected. When the club, players and staff achieve what we’ve achieved this season, everything over the last few days goes with it.
“It just shows what it means to everybody. We saw signs of the opposite - the disappointment of last season - and we very much saw what that meant, but we’re the other side of it now.”
“One good thing that has come out of it, is [learning] the history of this football club. Some would be aware; of course if you’re a Brighton supporter you would be aware.
“But I suppose, nationally, there would have been a lot of people that weren’t aware of what the club has gone through over the last 20 years or so.
“I’ve always felt that Brighton is a very popular football club, and that possibly might be that there aren’t too many rivalries from where we’re situated.
“It’s been very well received [promotion], and I think there’s a general good feeling that we’ve been able to achieve it.”
“Even with the form of Newcastle of late, it’s just a strong testament to this division and how difficult it is.
“Norwich are a team that we would have expected to have been in the top six, and only because of their history and the last few seasons, having been in the Premier League.
“But it’s a very difficult division and wherever we were going on Friday, it’s a game that I would want to win and one that I’d want to win as quick as possible.
“They had an impressive win away from home in their last game, so they’re probably setting themselves up to try and finish the season as strongly as they can. We’ve got to be very conscious of that.”
Winning the Championship:
“It’s the very next, most important thing now [winning the league]. We’ve achieved what we want to achieve, and of course that has been by far the biggest thing that we wanted to achieve this season.
“But we’re in the business of competition, and competition means winning as many games as you can, and the next big challenge has got to be winning it now.
“There will be a better feel for this group of players, now and in the future, if we’re able to go up as champions.”