Brighton Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton praised Lewis Dunk for his performances in central defence this season, and believes the defender can learn lessons from former Chelsea defender John Terry, ahead of today’s game at Stamford Bridge.
The 26-year-old will get the chance to play against the club he followed as a child, and Hughton highlighted the club’s former captain as an ideal model for Dunk to build his game around.
“There are great examples of John Terry’s game that Lewis can learn from. His maturity has got better over this period of time and some of his vocal leadership qualities have also improved.
“If Lewis says that’s the player that he looked up to - then in that position, there’s almost nobody better to use for that.
“He’s been excellent for us. What you always want to see in players is the progress they can make, and I’ve been here three years now and seen the progress Lewis has made in that period of time.
“He’s been a mainstay for us this season and has been really excellent. He’ll certainly be tested against Chelsea and there will be a lot of pressure on him with what they’ve got offensively.”
The Seagulls make their first trip to Stamford Bridge since the last meeting between the teams in London in 1988, and Hughton highlighted the difficult task facing his players as they take on last season’s Premier League champions.
“We go to Chelsea knowing it’s very difficult to get a result there. There aren’t too many that will expect [us to get a result], but that’s the challenge.
“For this club and the players we have, they’re the challenges that we’ve been looking forward to the most.
“What we've been able to do, apart from the Liverpool game, is at least be in the game against the top sides.
“You know you’re going to give away a huge bulk of possession, it is what it is, but these are the challenges everybody is looking forward to.”
The Blues began the campaign with a surprise home defeat to Burnley, and Hughton admitted his team must take confidence from such a result, but understands they will have to be at their very best to achieve a positive result.
“You have to use all of that to your advantage and look at the moments they’ve had where they’ve not been at their best.
“But we know that for us to get anything from that game, we’re going to have to be absolutely at our best, and for Chelsea not to be. It’s something that can happen.
"We go into the game as huge underdogs, which in that way takes the pressure off of us.
“We know we’ll have to perform at a good level to stay in the game, but also to give us any chance of getting something.”