Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton is anticipating a different threat from this afternoon’s opponents Chelsea, in comparison to the Blues side they faced last season.
Maurizio Sarri’s side visit the Amex Stadium this afternoon having enjoyed a successful transition since the manager’s arrival from Napoli over the summer, and the Albion boss previewed the new threat the Italian’s side would pose to the Seagulls.
He said, “They have a new style and that means it’s a new challenge for us – the top six all pose different challenges.
“They have a lot of possession now and that’s different to last year – credit to the players for taking to the new manager’s ways of working.
“He’s brought some new faces in during the summer that fit the way he wants to play. It’ll be a difficult but different test for us this weekend.”
Albion come into the contest unbeaten in their last four matches on home soil, most recently sealing a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace, where the side played for an hour with ten men. Hughton insisted the side can take positives from their recent form ahead of today's match.
“We come into the game in a better position in the league and in better form than when we played Chelsea last season, and the players have to use that. We’re in a more comfortable position but that stands for nothing when the game starts.
“I think these are the things building up to the game that people point out as being facts, but when the contest kicks off everything goes out the window.
“It’s then about a performance at that time – that’s what you’ll always be judged on, what you do on the day.”
The manager also discussed Dutch forward Jurgen Locadia when he met the media on Friday morning, praising the striker’s commitment and efforts on the training field and encouraging him to continue those efforts over a busy upcoming festive period.
“He’s [Jurgen Locadia] been good in training – you’ll always get disappointment from individuals if they’re not playing.
“What you want is the players to train in a way that’s going to keep the levels of the group up to give them the best opportunity to stake a claim when they can, Jurgen’s done that and we have good competition in that area.
“He’s a signing we made last year, and he hasn’t played as much as he would have liked. That’s part and parcel of the game unfortunately but he’s trained really well, and he’s given me no problems – the moment you start thinking one way it can go another, so he has to keep that up.”