Brighton v Manchester City: 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 with Manchester City on Sunday.

City will be crowned champions with a win but Liverpool will pip Pep Guardiola's side to the title if they win and Manchester City fail to beat Brighton.

Here's the transcript of the press conference...

How do you look back on the season?

"A little bit of job done. If we'd been asked at the start of the season would we settle for retention in the Premier League and getting into the semi-finals (of the FA Cup), which was very exciting for this football club, I think we would have taken it.

"Certainly there have been some lows. We are very aware of the periods we have had and where we needed to do better and it was probably in the home games where we'd done so well last season where we didn't pick up the points we needed to.

"That was a difficult part of the season for us.

"We'll always reflect on it but the reality is we haven't finished dramatically too far away from where a level of club in a second season in this division should finish.

"It's a little bit of relief at the end of the season because we know what it could have been.

"But overall we've thoroughly deserved to be where we are and look forward to hopefully a better season next season."

It's a huge occasion on Sunday. What is the motivation for your team?

"The motivation is very easy.

"We'd have had numerous seasons where there's not too much meaning on the last game and it's very much appreciation from the supporters to the team and such however the season has gone.

"To be playing in a high profile game and a very meaningful game, for this football club it's very exciting and one we're delighted to be involved in."

Raheem Sterling won the Football Writers' player of the season award last night, how do you stop him among other dangers City have?

"With the season he's had, he thoroughly deserves the award.

"The unfortunate thing when you speak about City is you can't speak about one player as they have so many threats and so many good players.

"When a centre half in their last game comes up with a goal he comes up with, that's something else to be concerned about.

"Fortunately we had experience of playing them recently in the semi-final. We will have to get somewhere near that type of performance to give ourselves any chance of getting a result.

"They are top of the division and Carabao Cup winners and FA Cup finalists for a reason.

"They have top, top players and we will have to be at our best."

How did Bruno tell you he was retiring?

"I was aware right through a period of time.

"As captain I have lots of conversations with him. We left it to him, it's a big decision for him and even though he was making me aware of his feelings for periods of that, he was unsure.

"As we got towards the latter part of the season, it became clearer to him.

"It wasn't a big surprise for me but it doesn't take away from everything I'm feeling at the moment.

"I've been at this club four years and he's been an integral part of everything in my period of time here. He's been my captain, my voice in the changing room and that's just with me, he was here three years before that.

"He will absolutely go down as one of the best free transfers any club have had.

"He has a special feeling and relationship with this club, he's a wonderful individual and is still playing very well in the best division."

Did you try to stop him from retiring?

"No because I've been involved in some of the processes and conversations, it was very much about what he wanted.

"His strength in my time here has been his directness and what he has had to give to be a professional footballer, particularly as he's got older and the sacrifices he's had to make.
"It was very much about him and what he wanted.

"Through that time period I was aware of some of his thoughts, not all of the them, so it's very much a decision he has had to take and I'm quite sure it's the right decision for him."

Some of your players could do down in football folklore if Liverpool win the title. Is that your message to them?

"The message will be about the respect we have for this division and how competitive this division is.

"Take away what this game means and it's a home game for us and irrespective of results we've had and results we've had against the big teams, our philosophy has always been the same - how can we win a football match?

"It so happens there's a big meaning to this game which means we have to give it the respect it deserves and try our very best to get a result."

Do you think you can beat Manchester City?

"We can win any game if the elements are in our favour, which means we play well enough and we play to a level which allows us to get a result.

"When you are playing the top six teams you are also reliant they're not at their best and they don't play to the level they can.

"We all know if Man City play at a level they can, there's only one winner.

"We need to get that balance right. We played well enough in the semi-final to give us a little bit of confidence going into the game.

"We'll have to defend well. Nobody scores more goals than what they do, but we are capable of that."

What's the team news?

"The only two missing will be Davy Propper and Jose Izquierdo."

There's been a few surprises this week, could this be the biggest shock of the lot?

"Yes, I don't think there are too many people who expect us to get a result.

"That's how football is and the levels of the two teams and what Manchester City have to what we have.

"There is no doubt we are going into this game with a better feeling than perhaps two weeks ago where it was a very difficult period and we hadn't secured Premier League status.

"We have now so that takes a little bit of pressure off the players. We showed that at Arsenal last week.

"We will definitely have to show that again to have any chance on Sunday."

It's been an incredible title race, how do you compare and contrast Manchester City and Liverpool?

"I don't think you can split them. They've been so outstanding and unfortunately for one of them, they won't win the title.

"Whoever doesn't win the title will come second with an incredible amount of points.

"But it's an exciting end to the season and an exciting week with everything that's gone on.

"It speaks volumes of the quality of this division but also the outstanding quality both have shown.

"When one of them looked like they might slip up, they've always found a way to win a game or come back.

"Unfortunately one will miss out."


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