Brighton & Hove Albion winger Anthony Knockaert believes his team-mates must use their experience from their debut season in the Premier League, as they look to improve on their 15th-placed finish this time around.
Knockaert made 33 top-flight appearances for the Seagulls last season, and with Albion’s opening fixture of the 2018/19 campaign under three weeks away, the Frenchman showed his focus on having a successful year.
“It’s the second season in the Premier League for us and we’re still getting to know each other better and better. We need to take the experience from last season and use it.
“I’ll just try to improve on last season - if I score more goals and am more effective in the games, helping my team-mates, then that would be a good season for me.
“I think staying up has to be the goal for us. We’re a competitive team and of course we’ll try to get above 15th place this season, but as long as we stay up, it will be another accomplished season.”
The 26-year-old played his second game of pre-season on Saturday against AFC Wimbledon, and although the Seagulls were beaten 2-1, Knockaert pointed out the main focus of the game in south-west London.
“It was good to get a few more minutes in the legs. I think we started the game brightly, but maybe there was a bit of tiredness from the hard work we’ve been putting into training.
“We needed to react in the second half and not accept what we showed in the first half. It’s done now and we know we’ll need to show more over the next few games.
“The goal is to get ready for the new season, and obviously we want to win every game, but the results aren’t the most important thing, it’s mainly about getting fit.”
Fellow French speaker Yves Bissouma signed for the Seagulls last week from Lille OSC, and Knockaert commented on the midfielder’s arrival, before highlighting his efforts to help his new team-mate.
“He’s settling in well, I’m trying to help him as much as I can because he doesn’t speak English. I was the same when I came to England, but you learn quickly.
“Football is a universal language, so you don’t really need to talk as much as you’d think. Myself and Gaetan [Bong] will help him settle in, and I’m sure that with the good group we have, he’ll settle in perfectly.
“I don’t know him very well in terms of a player, but I’ve heard good things about him in France. Hopefully he’ll come in and help us.”