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CHIVERS: AWAY OPENER TAKES PRESSURE OFF

15 June 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Former Albion defender Gary Chivers joins Andy Rollings at the fixture reveal breakfast.

Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Gary Chivers believes opening the 2018/19 Premier League campaign away from home will help ease the pressure on Chris Hughton’s team, as they face Watford at Vicarage Road.

The 58-year-old - who also played for the Hornets - was present for Thursday morning’s fixture release breakfast at the Amex Stadium, and spoke positively about Albion’s start to their second season in the Premier League.

He said, “I think it’s an excellent fixture list for us. First game of the season we’ve got Watford and we played ever so well there last season.

“I quite like being away from home for the first fixture because I think the pressure is always on the home team to go and perform.

“Going away, it takes some of the pressure off. We played well there last season and I think we could go there again this time around and nick something.”

Chivers also commented on Albion’s daunting end to the campaign, which sees Hughton’s side visit the Emirates Stadium before welcoming the reigning Premier League champions - Manchester City - to the south coast.

“Nothing could be harder than our finish last season. We’ve got Arsenal and Manchester City, but hopefully we won’t be needing anything from those games.

“You go into the season and look at your games against the top-six sides - if you get anything against them, home or away, you’ve done really well.

“I actually think we’re going to do slightly better this season. People say about the second-season syndrome, but I think we’ll do better because the players know what to expect.

“You’re looking at the teams that have just come up - Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham - at least one of those will struggle.

“The players will know what’s coming. When you’re going to places like Old Trafford week-in week-out, you gain a little bit of confidence and experience from it.”

Chivers, who made 217 appearances for the Seagulls between 1988-1993, went on to praise Albion for their performances last season, and was especially impressed with the club’s central defensive partnership.

“I thought the lads were absolutely superb, for what we have at this club. The two centre-halves - Dunk and Duffy - were magnificent.

“Through the spine of the side, with [Dale] Stephens, I thought we looked really good. We just need a bit of extra cover in the wide positions.

“I think Glenn [Murray] felt isolated at times playing up front on his own, holding the ball up, which isn’t really his game. But Glenn’s a natural goalscorer and always he’ll get goals in any division.”


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