Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton praised the solidity of Saturday’s central defensive partnership at Selhurst Park, and backed Lewis Dunk in his quest for another call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Dunk and Shane Duffy contributed towards a resolute defensive display in Albion’s 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace, and Hughton was delighted by the pair’s defensive composure throughout.
He said, ”I thought Lewis was very good. Both him and Shane needed to be. Anything less from our two centre-halves and I don't know if we end up winning the game.
"They were put under a lot of pressure, a lot of balls into the box, and they had to stay on their feet. I thought Lewis defended particularly well.
"What got him the [England] cap in the first place is what he has now. There wouldn't be any player in the England manager's plans that's not going to be up and down.
“They’re not all going to be brilliant every week — it comes with the territory. Dunky's a centre-half and he is going to be tested in this division.
“There's a lot of competition [in the England squad]. If he’s picked, then that’s brilliant for him and the club, but if he's not then it's something for him to keep aiming for."
The Seagulls will now turn their attention to next Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final against Millwall, before returning to Premier League action when Southampton visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday 30th March.
Albion recorded three consecutive Premier League victories for the first time back in October, and Hughton is keen to see his team repeat the feat after back-to-back wins over Huddersfield Town and Palace.
“I’ll be incredibly disappointed if we don't try to build on this. We've got to try and finish the season as strong as we can. I’ve always maintained 40 points, because that’s the easiest and obvious one to look for.
“By all accounts, by the law of averages, it could be less, but if you have a mindset of that figure, it provides a goal and something to aim for. But of course every team wants to surpass that if they can.
“We’ve now had two wins on the spin, and we haven’t had too many back-to-back wins this season. We have another opportunity after the cup game, at home to Southampton, to try and make that three.”