Arsenal v Brighton: What did Chris Hughton say in his pre-match press conference?

Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Chris Hughton spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion's Premier League match at Arsenal on Sunday. Here are the key points.

There's two games to go and you're four points clear of the relegation zone. Could this be a defining weekend?

"I certainly can't tell you what will happen elsewhere.

"The only thing I can try to affect is our game at Arsenal. As normal, we will set ourselves up to do the best we can and try to get some kind of result.

"We will hear any results in our favour or against us but we can only afford to think about our own game."

You could go to Arsenal already safe. Will you be watching Cardiff's game against Crystal Palace tomorrow?

"Probably not. Only due to the fact that at this moment all our focus has to be on us.

"There isn't anything else at this moment we can affect. No doubt we will hear the result of the game.

"We'll be away in the team hotel and some might want to watch it. I prefer just to focus on our game at Arsenal."

You won't tell the players to switch off from that result?

"The message is very much that our preparation is about how we can go into a very difficult game and try to get a result.

"It's going to be impossible with phones and phone calls to not know the result. Some might want to know the scoreline as it goes along.

"I can't help too much in that way but I prefer to focus on what is our important game."

It will be a challenging game at the Emirates. How do you see this game which is sandwiched between two huge Europa League games for Arsenal?

"They have a heavy schedule and have a lot of players who have played a lot of games.

"Sometimes that can go against you or sometimes continuity can go for you. They are on the back of a very good result and good performance last night.

"They will take that feel into the next game. What changes he will make, I don't know.

"Whatever team and formation they play, they have some very good players and will be very strong opposition."

Was the Europa League game a reminder of the quality they have going forward but also how you could exploit them defensively?

"In any game you have to look at areas you can maybe capitalise on. That's whoever you are playing against.

"But it was a reminder of the offensive qualities they have, particularly playing at home. Whatever changes he makes, if he makes any, we know they are very capable of scoring goals."

Brighton's last away goal was on March 9 - also the last time you won - how do you go to the Emirates and try to score goals?

"You always have to go with hope. In any poor period or any aspect of your game you're not doing so well at, the next game is the first and best you have an opportunity to change that.

"For us it's about the whole of the game. Are we going to go there and score lots of goals, the law of averages is no.

"It's about the best way of trying to get a result there. We know defensively we will have to good because of the quality they've got but we also have to be a threat.

"We also have to have in our own game ways to score goals. We've found that very difficult but the next game is the next opportunity we have to change that."

What's the team news?

"Davy Propper is out running at the moment and we will keep pushing him to see if we can have him available for our last game. He's pain free at the moment and doing quite well.

"Izquierdo is the only other one who will miss out."

Is it a blow to have someone as explosive as Izquierdo out?

"When anybody misses out on a squad place it's always disappointing. But it's part and parcel of the game.

"It gives an opportunity for somebody else. At this stage of the season to only have two members of the squad missing where others might have more, it's not such a bad thing.

"It's about getting your head around it knowing the players that are available and getting the best out of the players you can."

Gaetan Bong signed a new deal this week. Are discussions on-going with other out-of-contract players?

"Contract talks and discussions are done in the correct way. Whenever there is something to be announced, that is the correct time for us.

"I'm really pleased for Gaetan. He's been here for most of my period here and he's been a very consistent member of the squad.

"His value is not just about what he gives us on the pitch but his experience off the pitch in a changing room that has changed fairly dramatically over the last few seasons.

"To have that type of stability and experience in the dressing room adds value to him but mostly it's about what he does on the football pitch."

How much encouragement do the results against Arsenal at the Amex over the last two seasons give you for Sunday?

"In what's been a very difficult season in certain aspects and we've hit a difficult period in this latter part but our performances against the top six teams have improved from last season if I look at the gulf and the goals scored and conceded.

"I think we've improved but the stage for a club like us is to get even closer. That's what we continually work hard for."

If Cardiff win on Saturday, would it give you more freedom to go for it?

"I'm not thinking that way and I can't afford to think that way.

"Whether that changes any players' mindsets I can't say. All our preparation has been very much about how we can get a result at the Emirates. That's the only thing we've been thinking about.

"What happens on Saturday we can't affect but it would be wonderful if we got good news.

"I always think the best way is to not expect anything, prepare and do the best you can. Then if a result goes in our favour it would be a wonderful bonus."

How concerned have you been about the number of chances which have slipped by where you could have sealed safety?

"Obviously concerned. When we analyse the season or put it into smaller batches and the last third, they are the reasons why we are going into the last two games still uncertain is because we haven't been good enough in areas.

"There have been games where at the start of the season, some of the home games you knew then that on the bulk of averages of where you are going to get your results, we haven't picked them up.

"Ultimately if you don't do that, it's going to cause you problems.

"I'm concerned we haven't won the games that we needed to and concerned we haven't got the goals or created the chances we needed to win.

"But every game is an opportunity and it's still in our own hands."

How have you kept the players' heads up?

"They've been good actually, probably because including the cup run and during this difficult period we've had some good moments.

"Not everything has been bad.

"I thought we had two good performances, a dogged-type performance at Wolves who have shown what a good side they are and they then had a home win against Arsenal after us.

"That puts into perspective that result and performance.

"Then the performance at Tottenham which came very close. Around what has been a difficult time, there have been highs which have lifted them.

"The morale around the place has been good, training has been good and we know have to put that into practice and get whatever benefits we can on Sunday."


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