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Hughton: Increased Competition Helped Promoted Trio

By Kieran Cleeves • 14 May 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton believes the Premier League has become more competitive outside the top six, after all three promoted clubs managed to secure their place in England’s top tier for another season.

Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town will join Albion in the Premier League for the 2018/19 season, and Hughton commented on what he believes are the reasons behind the successful campaigns for all three clubs.

He said, “We broke our transfer record a number of times in the summer, Huddersfield have done it four or five times and Newcastle had spent more the season before. So from that aspect, I think we’re prepared a bit better than teams in the past.

“Burnley have had an incredibly outstanding season - and between themselves, Everton and Leicester, they’ve been pushing for those places around the top six.

“Outside of the top six, generally everybody can beat everybody. I think that’s what it’s down to. That group outside the top six has been bigger this season, and that’s helped all three of us.”

The Seagulls ended their debut season in the Premier League with a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, and Hughton highlighted the difficulty of Albion’s final week of the season.

“It’s been a tough week for us and that showed a little bit. We flew up to City during the week and it was a very difficult game up there. To come and do it again a few days later, it maybe took its toll.

“If you look at the forward line that started, we knew we’d be in for a difficult afternoon.

“You’ve got to defend really well and be a bit fortunate at times. Our goalkeeper made a few good saves, but most of all, we needed to be better on the ball.

“We never relieved the pressure enough with our ability on the ball, and that was probably the biggest aspect of the game.”

Hughton gave Jurgen Locadia his third Premier League start of the season at Anfield, and the Albion boss explained his reasons behind opting for the Dutchman, who he believes will show his full potential next season.

“With the way that Liverpool play - they press well - I thought we needed a little more pace in the team. It was a difficult game but a good opportunity for Jurgen.

“When you speak to him, that’s the big difference - the intensity of the Premier League. He’s come from a division that’s very technical and he’s somebody that scored a lot of goals there.

“He’s a goalscorer with both feet. But here, in the Premier League, he arguably won’t get the space and time that he would have got in Holland.

“He’ll benefit from a good pre-season. When you look at the games he’s played, it’s been quite sporadic. I think we’ll see the best of him next season.”

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