Brighton & Hove Albion defender Gaetan Bong says that the club’s second season in the Premier League has taught them more than the first.
The Cameroon international has played an important role in both of the Seagulls' seasons in the top flight, and he believes the team has overcome a more difficult campaign this term to seal survival once again.
He said, “I think we’ve learnt a lot more from this season than we did from our first campaign in the Premier League.
“Last year we were really focused on fighting and doing anything to stay in the league, whereas this year people were expecting more.
“We had teams like Fulham who came up and spent a lot - we expected more, of course, but at the end we fought so hard to stay in this division and for us that’s the most important thing.”
The full-back also used Fulham as an example of how fiercely competitive the league is, with the Whites having succumbed to relegation at the start of April but winning their next three contests that followed without conceding.
“We’ve played well this season; the division is so competitive - even the clubs who have gone down are still winning matches,” he continued.
“People weren’t expecting them to win games, but they have – this season was harder than last and in a way we had more to lose.
“Last year we had nothing to lose because we'd just come into the division and people thought we’d go back down, but we did really well that season.”
Bong put pen to paper on a new one-year contract with Albion last week, and he spoke about his affiliation with the Seagulls and his desire to continue to contribute towards the club's fortunes.
“I’ve been at this club for four years now and everyone knows my strengths – I never try to do what I can’t, I do my job for the team.
“I’ll always give everything; my job is to defend well first and foremost and then help the side in attacking areas if I can.
“I’m very happy because I feel like the choice on a new deal was the correct one for me, I’m delighted to commit my future to here.”