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8 November 2018

Chris Hughton and Martin Jol working together for Tottenham Hotspur.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton believes that the time he spent with Martin Jol at White Hart Lane between 2004 and 2007 set him up for his managerial career.

The pair oversaw the North London club’s highest placed finish since 1990 in the 2005/06 season – finishing fifth, as well as guiding Spurs to consecutive UEFA Cup qualifications for the first time since Keith Burkinshaw’s reign - and the now Albion boss spoke glowingly of his former colleague's qualities. 

He said, “One of the biggest influences on me was Martin Jol, who I worked with very closely at Tottenham for three years. He was the one who set me up for my managerial career. 

“Martin was steeped in a Dutch background but had played in England, too - so he had this great balance between the broad and technical side of Dutch football and the tempo and toughness of here. 

“If you look at Tottenham going from a good cup team in the 1980s to one with an inconsistent league position and their turnaround into a team who now achieve consistent good finishes in the league, Martin was probably the catalyst for that. 

“We had very good managers before him, Glenn Hoddle, George Graham, who won the Worthington Cup and did well in his period of time there.

“But if we're talking about consistent good finishes in the league, where Tottenham are in this moment - and of course the likes of Harry Redknapp have added to that - Martin was the one who initiated that turnaround.”

The Seagulls manager also shared both a dressing room and a technical area with a former England boss – and revealed that the time with Glenn Hoddle for Tottenham Hotspur both on and off the field has also been a key factor in shaping him as a boss. 

“I have had a playing career and a coaching career, and Glenn was one that crossed over both. I played a lot of games with him and all of the Tottenham team admired him because of the ability he had, and the level he could play at.

“My background, from 13 years old onwards, was at Tottenham Hotspur, but Glenn was the one we knew amongst us that was the born and bred Spurs supporter.

“He'd been there from a young age, I think his family supported Tottenham. So he was the one steeped in Tottenham tradition - and he was the player that was ahead of us.

“Glenn generally played a year or two above his age group as a youngster and, as a player, through those really good periods in the 1980s, he was the one we looked up to. 

“But our paths crossed again in management and coaching. I was already back at Spurs as a coach and Glenn came in as manager in 2001. 

“I worked with him and John Gorman - he had a very good tactical mind, always thinking about the game. He was a very forward-thinking manager. Certainly, he would have been a big influence on me in my playing, coaching and managerial career.”

Hughton is now one of 20 top flight bosses in the Premier League, and guided Albion to safety with a 15th placed finish in the club’s debut season in the division last campaign – he reflected on his admiration for fellow bosses in the game – singling out two current faces in particular.

“There are relationships you've had over the years, for instance, Steve Bruce, who has been managing a long time, and we've crossed paths many times, and Tony Pulis, who, in the earlier years I had a lot of conversations with when I was Tottenham's reserve team boss and he was in charge of Gillingham, discussing loan deals. 

"But I have lots of influences from younger managers now, too. What Sean Dyche has done at Burnley and Eddie Howe has done at Bournemouth - in completely different ways - I have great respect for them. I know how difficult this job is and how difficult it is to get results. I can certainly learn from what they've done. 

“However long you've been in a job, you want to improve. That's why we watch so many games. If Bournemouth or Burnley get a result somewhere, you think 'how have they got that result?' Apart from the obvious - they've got good players and a good way of playing - how have they done it, have they done anything different?

“That applies to a lot of managers, not just those two. But I'm picking them out because they are younger managers, as such, who, I think, have probably both over-achieved at their clubs.”

Chris was speaking to Sky Sports Football ahead of this Saturday’s trip to face Cardiff City in the Premier League, kick-off 12.30pm.

Fans can read the manager’s full interview by clicking here.

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