Date: 5th August 2017 at 3:37pm
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Head coach Chris Hughton and Jamie Murphy have both been previewing Sunday’s final pre season friendly against Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish La Liga side visit the Amex on Sunday to close out our pre season preparations ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign and Hughton is expecting an incredibly tough tie – but that’s exactly what he wants.

Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media yesterday to discuss the game, Hughton explained.

‘As opposition goes, it`s real top-level opposition. Every game is an intense game for them, that`s the way they are. If anything, some aspects of their game are very British. Generally 4-4-2; they work very hard shifting the team, but they`ve got really good quality and can go from defence to attack very quickly because of the quality they have got. We have the pleasure of watching Atletico Madrid playing Champions League football, and no matter what level you`re playing at, they`re the games that you watch. We`re a newly-promoted team to the division and we know it`s going to be a tough one for us, but it`s a challenge that we have to very much look forward to, and make sure that we give it our best.’

With Brighton yet to taste defeat across the pre season campaign, Hughton spoke about the current condition of the first team squad and he’d been pleased with how things had gone so far.

‘You`d like to think that once you`ve got to this stage of pre-season, that your fitness levels are where you want them to be. We`re certainly fortunate on the injury front; Anthony Knockaert will be close to the start of the season, Sam Baldock trained on Friday, and at this moment, they would be our only two. We`re playing against a top team here on Sunday, so we`ll certainly have to make sure we`re resilient and defend well, because that`s going to be a key to any success that we have this season.’

He went on to add.

‘We`ll have to take advantage of playing here at the Amex, and we`ll have to show the quality that we`ve got in the squad. This is a squad that faired very well in the Championship last season, but we`re also very conscious that, if anything, the quality in the Premier League has got even greater. There are clubs that would be seen as middle-of-the-table clubs in the Premier League, and they`ve looked to improve and invest as well. If we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity of staying up, we need to do the same. Am I happy with what I`ve got? Yes. But as all managers do, I always want better.’

Murphy was also relishing the challenge ahead as he met with the press.

‘If we`re going to be in the Premier League, then you want to play against the best teams and test yourselves. Obviously Atletico Madrid are that kind of team, being in the Champions League final last year. It will be a tough test but also a great game to help us prepare for the start of the season. They`ve got a manager who worked them really hard, and they`re very good tactically. It will be our toughest test in pre-season, by far. I`d expect nothing less, the week before pre-season, you want to test yourselves and get up to speed. We`re against one of the best teams in the world, so it`s up to us to go out there and produce a good performance.’

Having found the net against Fortuna Dusseldorf and Crawley Town so far this pre season, he felt our preparations had gone well.

‘It`s gone well so far; we`ve had some good results in some tough games, which is what you want. You want to win every game, even though they`re friendlies, but the most important thing is getting minutes on the pitch. It`s been a tough pre-season, but I`ve done well in the games and managed to get a couple of goals, which is always good. The aim now is to take the form we`ve had during pre-season into the Premier League.’

Adding.

‘It will be a massive occasion for both the club and myself. The club hasn’t been in the Premier League before, so no matter who it was going to be against, it was always going to be a special occasion. My wife, kids and parents will all be there. They were never going to miss my first game in the Premier League, so they`re really looking forward to it.’

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