Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton urged defensive duo Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk to continue their fine form in the Premier League this season, and challenged them to keep working hard to contribute at both ends of the pitch.
Duffy and Dunk helped the Seagulls record their eighth clean sheet in the Premier League on Saturday against Newcastle United, and Hughton hopes to see one of their names on the scoresheet for Albion soon.
“The moment that their performances are not what they’ve been, we as managers and coaches will be the first ones to tell them.
“With the spotlight on players these days, they won’t need telling. But they’ve both been excellent this season and have really developed as players.
“When you have two big centre-halves, you want them to contribute [goals]. That’s the next challenge for them and I hope that comes soon.
“At some stage one of their efforts will go in - it would have been nice today [v Newcastle], but all you can do is keep working at it and hopefully you get that turnaround.”
The Albion boss went on to highlight the difficult nature of competing in the Premier League, and believes staying up would match the club’s achievement of reaching England’s top flight last season.
“You can’t underestimate how difficult it is [staying up], particularly for a team that hasn’t been in this division before. Staying up would be as big an achievement [as getting promoted].
“When you’re us or Newcastle in the Championship last season, you were winning more games than you were losing.
“There were more good weeks and more good feelings, but this season is different, you’re going to lose more games than what you win, and it’s about coping with that.
Bournemouth and Swansea City both picked up victories on Saturday to move closer to the Seagulls in the league table, and although Hughton admitted teams will see an upturn in their form, he urged his players to focus on themselves.
“Ultimately, the teams that have had tough periods in the first half of the season, where they’ve not been good, they’ll start picking up some good results.
“What you have to be able to do is look after your own results, because if you continue to look at other team’s results, you’ll end up being disappointed most weeks.”