Albion's manager looks ahead to returning to St James' Park.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton is looking forward to returning to St James’ Park today, and says he will always be grateful to the Tyneside club for giving him his first managerial job.
The Albion boss won promotion to the Premier League with the Magpies in 2010, and ahead of Saturday’s showdown with the Seagulls, Hughton reflected on a successful spell at the club.
He said, “They gave me my first opportunity to become a football manager and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for.
“It was a very, very good season. We managed to get back into the Premier League at the first go and we were 11th in the league when I left.
“I always prefer to think about the good times. I certainly had more good times than bad times, but I was also part of the staff when we went down, so that was incredibly disappointing as I saw what it meant to the club.
“After I had gone, there was a general good feeling from the supporters. It’s always a difficult time when you leave a club, but from the moment I left there, my thoughts were always about getting back into the game as quickly as possible.
“I had a lot of support from the fans and a lot of good messages from them. I think they appreciated the job that I did there and it’s nice when it happens that way.”
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Hughton is fully aware of the threat Newcastle pose in the Sky Bet Championship this season, and believes manager Rafael Benitez has shrewdly invested in the squad over the summer.
“It’s a tougher job now than when I was there. The level of this division is higher now, but what he has done is invest very well for this season.
“They’ve spent very well. They’ve also had decent money come back the other way, getting big money for [Georginio] Wijnaldum, so it hasn’t all been one way.
“He’s invested really well, buying a lot of good players to be at the top of this division.”
Newcastle are without strikers Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic for Albion’s visit, but Hughton insists his team must focus on their own strengths.
“The moment you start stating you’re delighted that somebody is out, somebody else steps up to the plate and starts doing well.
“It has to be about us and we have to adjust to whatever team they put out. I would be exactly the same if I were their manager, when we have players that are out, it’s a really good opportunity for somebody else.
“When you have a player out, you don’t want to have a mindset that it lessens your team. I think that will be the very same with them; whichever way they work around that one, we’ll be up against a very strong Newcastle team.”
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