Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says staying in the Premier League for a second season in a row would represent another step of progression for the club.
The Seagulls currently sit 16th in the Premier League table, five points ahead of the bottom three, and the boss spoke of what playing in the division for a third year in succession would represent ahead of tomorrow’s game with AFC Bournemouth at the Amex Stadium.
He said, “It would be just as big of an achievement as last season to stay in this division for another year because we are still a developing club.
“We are still learning about the division and the highs and lows which come with that. Progress can be measured in a number of ways, but I do think we’ve progressed. We’ve also changed the way the team is playing and altered the system at times.
“Some say the true calculation is about where you finish and how many points you finish with – it’s not always a complete evaluation though, because you can finish on more or less points than the year before and still feel as though you’ve developed in other areas.”
Last weekend saw the side fall to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium, and Hughton re-emphasised the positive aspects of the performance that he wants his team to carry forward for the remainder of the league campaign.
“The players have been okay after Saturday – there’s the disappointment of not going through, but the biggest thing we got out of it was a performance that hasn’t done us any harm,” he continued.
“We have to take that into this final group of league matches, that’s the aim, the group have felt good – the positives to take from the performance are the most important thing.
“To run a top-class team so close with the quality and strength in depth they have at their disposal speaks volumes for this group of players – but that’s gone now, from the moment the final whistle went, all of my talking with the players has been about this next game.”
Saturday’s contest between two south-coast clubs will see the manager come up against Eddie Howe in the away dugout, and the Albion boss was keen to praise his opposite number and the job he’s done with the Cherries.
“For any manager to do what he’s done with what he’s had to work with is nothing but admirable.
“They’ve earnt the right to be in this division – they’ve made additions, but the bulk of the players have come up through the leagues.
“It’s his club as such; apart from a short period at Burnley he’s been there a long time – you can’t underestimate the work he’s done there.”