Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton answered a series of questions from the media at Thursday’s pre-match press conference, as his team’s meeting with Everton draws closer.
The Seagulls travel to Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon, and Hughton reflected on Albion's resolute run of results, Shane Duffy’s continued improvement and more.
Sky Sports reporter Roger Clarke opened the questioning…
Three wins in a row, each of them 1-0, I’m sure you’d prefer to be winning 4-0 or 5-0, but is there something pleasing about a team that can go into matches which can go either way and come out with victory?
“The most pleasing thing is that on each of those occasions we’ve taken three points. We know how valuable three points can be in this division.
“To get three wins on the spin is unusual. We appreciate it and the 1-0’s show that we have a resilience in the team.
“We’ve particularly been under pressure in our last couple of games, but we’ve shown great spirit to make sure we don’t concede.
“It’s something that we spoke about because we went through a long period at the start of the season where we didn’t keep a clean sheet, so I’m really delighted.”
Premier League Productions reporter Will Dalton was next to quiz the manager…
Talking about the setup of the side, do you emphasise players to play their own game, rather than concentrating too much on what the opposition are going to do?
“You have to respect the quality of the opposition and in each department there are players that our players have to be made aware of.
‘If there’s a particularly quick player, you make your full-backs aware of that and what their strengths are.
“That’s normal but generally we concentrate on our own game, whether we’re at home or away. We don’t tend to play so different.
“The requirements we want from our wide players are generally the exact same at home as they are away.
“You just hope to have a good enough unit as a team to cope with the strengths of the opposition and also impose your own game on them when you can."
Dalton followed up with a question about a fellow countryman…
Shane Duffy said to me that when he spoke to you about joining the club, you said you would make him a better defender and bring him to another level — we’ve seen his level rise over recent seasons, does he still have further potential to improve?
“Although I’m the manager of this football club, it’s very much the team ethic that has allowed Shane to improve as a player.
“When we took him we already knew we were taking a very good player, and we wanted him to help us as much as we could help him.
“He’s had a massive hand in that. He’s very rarely been injured and trains every day, so he’s played a lot of games.
“The best way to develop as a player is to play games. All of that credit has to go to him, but we hope there’s more development to come.
“Probably as a central defender, your development years are that little bit later. There have been some great centre-halves that have played their best football between 28 and 30 years of age.”
BBC commentator and reporter Johnny Cantor closed the broadcast section…
A lot of talk has been about Glenn Murray and the goals he’s scored, but what about young Aaron Connolly — 11 goals in 13 games — is he appearing on your radar at all?
“We take a great interest in the under-23s and on lots of occasions individuals will train with us. We’re very aware of Aaron’s strengths and all he’s really done is continue what he’s always done.
“He’s somebody that from an early age has always scored goals. What he’s doing at the moment is playing in a good team.
“Credit to Simon Rusk and his staff, they’re having a very, very good season and have probably surpassed most people’s expectations, particularly going into the level of league they’re in now.
“Aaron’s very much on our radar but he’s one of a good group of players that are excelling this season.”
Supporters can watch the manager's full look ahead to Saturday’s game with Everton above on Seagulls TV - and fans can sign up to the service by clicking here.