Hughton: Players have been easy to manage and hunger has driven promotion dream

Albion manager Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Pics

Albion manager Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Pics

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Chris Hughton says his players’ hunger from enjoying competing at the top of the Championship has driven them to promotion.

The Brighton & Hove Albion boss has revealed that the squad has been an easy one to manage through the historic season.

The Premier League beckons next season for the Seagulls after a 34-year absence from the top flight following a dramatic day at the Amex on Bank Holiday Monday.

Their 2-1 win over Wigan all-but sealed their fate and the celebrations kicked off long before Huddersfield Town’s draw with Derby mathematically confirmed Albion’s promotion.

Hughton has continuously ruled out missing out in the play-offs last year has inspired his side this term, but instead says they had decided they wanted more of the same fierce competition.

He said: “It’s the type of individuals we have. We started the season in a very good position having good players. That’s a good start.

“We knew what we achieved last year so that says we had good players. We recruited some in the summer, not many, but we recruited, so we started the season with a better team and better squad. That’s a good starting position.

“I do not think it was just about missing out last year. I think the team really enjoyed being at that end of the table and winning more than games than what we were losing.

“They made up their minds that they wanted more of it and they wanted to be at this end of the table. Would I have expected us to be in the top two all season? Probably not, but I did expect us to be up there competing.

“My responsibility and always my responsibility is to manage that and I have to say, apart from the obvious of picking the team, formations and making decisions, they have not been a difficult group to manage.

“I have a very stable group of players and I have enjoyed rotating a little bit in this last period as it has brought players into the fold that perhaps have been out for a little bit. That is always a nice feel for me and the group, but it’s all about this football club.”

The former Norwich boss can win the title at his former club on Friday if Albion secure the three points at Carrow Road.

This season’s accomplishments are a stark contrast to when Hughton was announced as manager back in 2015.

He added: “When I came into this club on January 1 two years ago, we were in the bottom three and Nathan Jones had just taken the side. Thankfully, he had won and drawn a game just before I got here.

“I did not feel like a club that was in the bottom three in the Championship, because it is an incredibly well-run club with a wonderful support base. I am fortunate enough to go into a great training facility every day that the players still really appreciate.

“It was really perhaps just a question of doing the things that I felt could get results. Then it is down to a recruitment process and I felt we recruited really well in the summer.

“We brought in some really good, stable individuals that I felt could grow the team and they have improved since then. It’s very, very well-run club with great facilities and I would like to think it’s a pleasure for these players to come in every day.”