Albion's manager looked back on a brilliant campaign.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton praised his team for their impressive achievements this season and congratulated Newcastle United on winning the Sky Bet Championship title, following a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa this afternoon.
Jack Grealish’s 89th-minute goal cancelled out Glenn Murray’s second-half penalty at Villa Park, meaning the Seagulls finished second behind Newcastle United, but Hughton focused on the positives after a historic season for the Seagulls.
He said, “They’ve been magnificent all season, and when we’ve asked them to bounce back from a bad performance or result, we’ve managed to do that.
“We’ve made changes, as every other club has to do, and with anybody that’s come in, they’ve done well enough to either stay in or put in a performance that makes me question whether to leave them out of the side again.
“They’ve been excellent for me all season. We need to have a good summer, because it’s going to be very challenging next season.
“It’s a very special group, and one thing that I’m really delighted with, is that we put in a good performance today.”
Newcastle’s 3-0 victory over Barnsley at St James’ Park moved the Magpies into first position, and Hughton gave credit to the league winners, before speaking about Albion’s hard-working performance at Villa Park.
“I’d like to congratulate Newcastle on a wonderful season, they’ve just beaten us to it. I think the two best teams this season are the two that have gone up automatically.
“Many congratulations to them, but it was a tough one to take. We were in a similar position at the end of last season, having to win the game at Middlesbrough, and we had the same type of pressure.
“Our mindset was very much that we knew this was a game that we’d have to win. That was our mentality, and if I looked at our last three performances, that was certainly more like us today.
“We can look back at the home game against Bristol City, and we missed a big chance there, but I can’t fault the application of the players today, against a very good team with very good players.
“It was a game that we deserved to win today, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”
Albion’s next league fixture will be in the Premier League in August, and Hughton spoke about what the achievement means to the club, supporters and players.
“For all of us, we do the best jobs that we can, but I very much know what this means to the club. It’s the club’s first time in the Premier League, first time in the top division for 34 years, so I know exactly what it means.”