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STEPHENS: CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE CAN HELP US

29 January 2019

Paul Hazlewood
Dale Stephens in action for the Seagulls at Old Trafford earlier this month.

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens is ready for a busy period of fixtures over the coming weeks, and believes the team’s Championship experiences can help them, starting with tonight’s Premier League visit to Fulham.

The Seagulls face two midweek matches in as many weeks, in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup respectively, and Stephens thought back to when some of his team-mates plied their trade in England’s second tier.

He said, “It’s going to be like playing back in the Championship for the next few weeks, playing Saturday-Tuesday, but that’s something that our squad is used to. It’s a good opportunity to get points on board.

“Good performances always breed confidence. We’ve had some good performances of late, but probably haven't got the points that we deserved.

“We’re showing people that we’re improving, but more importantly we’re showing ourselves that we’re improving. We want to grow and get better as a team.

“If you isolate the games against Liverpool and Manchester United and compare them to last season, I think they were much closer.

“Going forward, the team is full of confidence. We’ve got Maty [Ryan] back and there are no fresh injuries, so we’re looking forward to the game.”



Stephens also commented on the side’s 4-3-3 formation which has been used in recent games, and believes the new shape is complimented by the collection of players Chris Hughton has to select from.

“It’s something that we played during the Championship years as well, and I think it’s a formation that probably suits our personnel more.

“We’ve managed to get Biss [Yves Bissouma] and Beram [Kayal] in the team. We’ve got strong numbers in midfield, which probably suits our overall performance.

“We can create more of a 3-v-2 against teams, whether they play two or one up front. Between me and the two centre-halves, we can always get out. It probably provides more options when starting attacks.

“It allows you to keep the ball a little more, and that’s why we’ve generally played it more away from home. It helps us to get a foothold in the match.”



Albion go in search of their eighth Premier League win of the season when they visit Craven Cottage this evening, but Stephens is expecting a tough game against the Cottagers, despite their 19th-placed position.

“We know a lot about their team and know the quality they possess. They were one of the best Championship teams that I’ve seen.

“It was a difficult game [at the Amex this season], probably one of the most difficult games we’ve had at home.

“They’re a good footballing team, we’ve noticed that from playing against them a lot of times in recent seasons.

“On their day they can come up with some very good performances, so we’ve got to be very switched on against them.”


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