Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk applauded his team-mates for delivering a professional performance against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, as the Seagulls claimed a 1-1 draw in their penultimate game of the season.
Albion’s Premier League status had already been secured after Cardiff City’s defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, but Dunk insisted that his team-mates had their own motivation to achieve a positive result.
He said, “We do have something to play for, we have pride to play for. You don’t go out on a football pitch half-hearted, you want to win every game you play.
“Obviously we were safe before the game, which is amazing, we’ve got another year in the Premier League, but you don’t go out there not trying — it was a great performance from the boys today.
“We were buzzing [to stay up] — obviously we want to be in the best league in the world.
“We got more points than Cardiff in the end — we were safe before this game but we showed what we’re about out there today.”
The England international also commended Albion manager Chris Hughton for his influence over the past couple of weeks, as the Seagulls collected precious points against Wolves, Newcastle and Arsenal to edge away from danger.
“It’s been a rollercoaster season — in the first half of the campaign we were brilliant and if we had carried that into the second half, we wouldn't have been in the relegation battle we were in.
“We were disappointed with ourselves for not carrying it on from Christmas, but the gaffer has shown what a good manager he is, especially in the last few games.
“We’ve had to grind out results and pick up a few points — that’s all down to him for setting us up right.”
Albion finish the season against Pep Guardiola’s title-chasers at the Amex Stadium next Sunday, with the Citizens looking to beat Liverpool to Premier League glory, and Dunk remains focused on upsetting the odds.
“Manchester City have got the title to play for, but we’re just playing for ourselves - we want to get as many points on the board as possible and show the gaffer what we can do for next season.”