Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk knows exactly what a win in this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City would do for the club and city as a whole.
The Seagulls academy product could lead the side out at the national stadium against Pep Guardiola’s at Wembley Stadium, and he spoke about the impact a famous and historic victory could have, should Chris Hughton’s men run out winners today.
He said, “The cup is massive for the club and if we can reach the final it would be huge for the city and everyone here.
“Not many people get the chance to play in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium, or even make the final, so we know that it’s an amazing opportunity – one we have to thrive on.
“It’s out of the ordinary but you don’t get nervous when you’ve played this many games in the side and you’re familiar with your team-mates.”
Dunk is likely to line up for the game against the reigning Premier League champions alongside Shane Duffy, a team-mate whom he’s shared plenty of success with over the last few seasons.
“It’s an important partnership, we’ve been together for three seasons now and it’s still improving,” he continued.
“We know and understand one another’s game very well, we get on well away from the field and he’s probably the best partnership I’ve had in the centre of defence for a long time.
“It just feels natural and we’re slightly different players, he’s more aggressive in the air – but we both love defending and blocking shots, it just works.”
This afternoon’s opposition are fighting for the league title and still harbour ambitions of winning the Champions League, facing Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday evening in the last eight of the European competition.
Dunk acknowledged the size of the task ahead but stressed the need for his team-mates to give everything in today’s high-profile cup showdown.
“We’re up against a tough team but we have to focus on ourselves and our own strengths – you might not get many chances during the game, but when they come you have to make the most of them and be clinical.
“We have to give everything to get to the final – it might be the only chance any of us get to reach that stage and we have to leave everything out on the field.
“They’re one of the best sides in Europe at the moment and still have interest in a lot of competitions - they want to win everything and they have a lot of strength in depth, so we have to make sure we want it more than whatever side they field.”