The post-match reaction after Albion's draw with Middlesbrough.
CHRIS HUGHTON encouraged his players to bounce back from the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a top-two finish and is now looking ahead to the play-off semi-final first leg against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.
The Albion manager acknowledged that his side’s points tally would usually be enough to secure automatic promotion, but insists his side still have a chance to achieve their ultimate goal.
He said, “What we absolutely know is that we can’t be too down about it. It’s a distraught changing room and I know what it means to them.
“The game is about highs and lows and Saturday was an incredible low. You are always striving for those highs and the only way you can do that is to realise you are a good team, dust yourselves down and go again.
“It’s very tough and in any other season we would go up automatically, but that’s how it is and you always look back at moments where you could’ve scored goals.
“But ultimately, the team that goes up deserves it. We’re still in with a good shout and we’ll be ready to go again.”
Hughton also praised Middlesbrough for securing their return to the Premier League and wished them well for next season.
“What they have had is very big investment at a time when they wanted to improve. They were already a wonderful football team that was at the right end of the table for most of the season.
"In January, they went out and purchased Rhodes and Ramirez, who was a £10million player at Southampton. I would think they will look at what Bournemouth and Watford have done this season and try to replicate that. Good luck to Middlesbrough and any team that gets promotion deserves it.”
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AITOR KARANKA hailed the effort from everyone at the club after Middlesbrough secured automatic promotion to the Premier League, following a 1-1 draw with Brighton.
The result ended a six-year absence from the top flight for the Teessiders, since their relegation from the Premier League in 2008/09.
He told SkySports, “When I arrived here, some people thought I was crazy to say I wanted to get this club in the Premier League again.
“But now, three-and-a-half years later, Middlesbrough Football Club is going to be in the position where it deserves to be.
“You can’t be more proud of this group of players, this crowd, this chairman.
“It is more than deserved. I just want to say thank you once again because it’s amazing for me.”
The Boro head coach also paid tribute to Brighton in what has been an incredibly tight race for the top-two places and says it makes the team’s achievement even more special.
“We knew it was going to be difficult. We had won a lot of games but Brighton and Burnley had been really with us also.
“In the Championship it always goes to the last second. When you achieve something like that even in those difficult moments, it is better.”
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