Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk highlighted the resilience within the club’s first-team squad, and believes his team-mates will need to stick together during a testing first season in the Premier League.
Dunk is looking forward to competing in England’s top flight next season, after making his debut for the Seagulls in League One in 2010, and the central defender reflected on the season just gone, as the club won promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.
He said, “We grounded out results when we needed to and played well when we needed to, and we’ll need the same togetherness and resilience again next season.
“Hopefully we can stay in the division next season; that’s the challenge that’s been laid down and one we’re looking forward to accepting.”
“There have been so many ups and downs, on and off the pitch. People have been through so much in their personal lives, but we’ve stuck together and we’ve brought them through it.
“As I’ve mentioned, that togetherness counts for so much and has really helped us get to where we are today.”
Dunk made the most appearances out of Albion’s central defensive options throughout the season, but applauded his partners for their input alongside him as the Seagulls recorded 21 clean sheets - the most of any Championship side.
“Duffer [Shane Duffy] came in this season and was tremendous for us – we struck up a partnership immediately.
“But then, when he suffered his injury and Connor [Goldson] was ruled out [with his heart condition], Uwe [Huenemeier] came in and didn’t put a foot wrong.
“He was outstanding, and I’m really proud of what we achieved as a back four – every player who came in played their part.
“But as any of us at the back will tell you, defending always starts with the front two and we looked solid all over the pitch.
“That made our jobs that much easier this season and is another hallmark of this team. We always set out to get the basics right, keep solid, keep our shape, and then we have the players going forward who can really hurt the opposition.”