Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says the emphasis to pick up results on home soil in the Premier League is normal and to be expected.
Since being promoted to the top flight the Seagulls have only lost twice on home soil to teams outside of the top six and entertain Southampton today on the south coast looking to extend the gap between themselves and the bottom three.
He said, “If at the start of the season you were to tell me that we were not going to get many points from games against teams around us on home soil, then I would know that it would be a very difficult season.
“The type of games like the one this weekend are normal with regards to pressure on getting something from them – that would always be in our hands – games against the top six will always be tougher.
“We’re about where we expected to be at this stage of the season, when the fixture list came out, we knew when we were playing these sides and we knew we’d need to get results against them.”
“We will need our home form in this group of games – because we also have some very tough away games to play, it’s just the way it is – there is more pressure in the home games we have.”
The game against Ralph Hassenhuttl’s men kickstarts a busy period – including three games in a week starting with the visit of the Saints this afternoon, and the manager highlighted that he’d need be relying on the depth of his squad for the upcoming weeks.
“We have eight games in four weeks coming up and we’ll need the squad – around that there will be a lot of players getting minutes.
“Competition for places is bringing the best out of players, and it helps when players are fit and available - that’s been good for us and we’ll need all of that during this big month of matches.
“That competition is there throughout matches too – it’s not just about the starting 11, we saw how it can be about coming off the bench to change games with the players who came on against Millwall.”
One familiar face to the Albion boss in this afternoon’s opposition ranks will be midfielder Nathan Redmond – whom Hughton managed at both Birmingham City and Norwich City respectively.
The manager spoke highly of the wide man ahead of today’s game, singling him out as a danger for the visitors.
“He’s a very good player and a threat – he’s in good form at the moment.
“He’s been used in a slightly different role in recent times, being deployed in a more central role which gets him on the ball more.
“That’s the reason he’s getting the goals he is – he’s been involved in the international scene before with England is knocking on the door again.”