Everton manager Sam Allardyce has stressed that Saturday’s game with the Seagulls at Goodison Park will be a contest that his side will have to be well-prepared for.
Speaking with the media on Thursday morning, the Toffees boss was full of praise for the job Chris Hughton has done on the south-coast, emphasising that the game with Albion would be tough given the side’s current run of form.
He said, “Chris has done an outstanding job, he’s a fantastic manager and has proven to be over a number of years now - you can see that Brighton are reaping the benefits of that.
“They’ve accumulated a very good squad very shrewdly and that’s proved in the way they’re organised.
“It’s not just a case of them surviving now because they’re playing very well and scoring goals too, picking up points both home and away.
“It’ll be a hugely difficult game for us and it’s one we won’t be underestimating.”
Both sides come into the contest on Merseyside locked on 34 points respectively, with Albion sitting a place above the hosts in 10th due to a superior goal difference.
Everton have lost their previous two matches – both away from home, and so Allardyce pointed to the significance of the team being back on home soil this weekend.
“The game is massively important because we want to ensure we don’t get dragged back into the bottom half.
“We have to look at our home results and say at the moment that’s where we’ve been good and the club has done well at home over recent seasons.
“The away form isn’t so good and we have to put that behind us and make sure there isn’t a legacy there after the last two defeats on the road.”
Home wins over Crystal Palace and Leicester City respectively, as well as a 0-0 draw with Chelsea represent a good return from the team's previous three matches at Goodison Park.
The Blues boss highlighted that the side must get the home crowd behind them for the visit of the Seagulls, and that could be done by delivering a positive performance.
“We’ve created a pressure and we have to deliver for the fans.
“We need to lift ourselves and if we do that at home then we can deliver a performance that will see us win the game.
“We have to be able to excite the fans on Saturday so that we have their support – we have to give them something like we have in the previous two games at Goodison Park.
“Against Brighton it’s about them delivering another performance because there are some nerves about at the moment.”