Date: 2nd May 2016 at 12:50am
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Manager Chris Hughton, when holding his pre Derby County press conference, admitted that he felt Brighton showed good signs of progression this season during the pre season campaign, and whilst he felt expectations would need to be changed if we could hit the ground running in 2015/16 – he wasn’t quite expecting expectations to change this much, seeing the club challenge for the automatic promotion spots and potentially the Championship title with only two games left in the campaign.

Speaking to the Official Site a delighted gaffer said of the clubs progress.

‘There were certainly signs in pre-season that if we started well, then maybe our expectations would change. After the first few games, it changed. We understood where we were last year and the objective was to stay up. But from the beginning of this season, I could feel a difference and we recruited very well in the summer. There was a feeling amongst the team that it could be a decent season, but we didn`t expect to be where we are now. But we have great confidence as a group and that has shown in our performances.’

Of course finding ourselves in this position now means the blow of not making the automatic spots would be huge, but from battling relegation last term, to absolutely worst case being in the Play Offs has to be applauded.

And Hughton knows that because this was never expected from us, the pressure continues to be higher on Middlesbrough and Burnley in the final two games of the campaign – and he wants that to play in our favour.

‘There is certainly more pressure on the other two clubs because their expectations were different at the beginning of the season. They have both spent more but as for the players, the pressure is the same. It is a nice position to be in but we don`t want to avoid the pressure, we are welcoming it and if you have it, then it means you`re close to success.’

Adding.

‘It`s crucial period and the club and players are enjoying it. This is the closest opportunity we have had, whether we gain promotion automatically or through the play-off system, we have an opportunity and we hope to grasp it.’

Giving him hope that we will see this through now, he references the facilities at the club and being set up off pitch as a Premier League side – and that helps the mentality of the players.

‘Our stadium and training complex are up there with the very best. In terms of on the pitch, we have never been in the Premier League. Any team that gets manages to get there by any means deserves it and the opportunity too. If we get promoted then we would deserve it. If we have to go via the play-offs, the plus side is we don`t have to wait very long. There isn`t time to dwell on missing out, we will have to prepare and be ready to go again.’

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