Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton has praised how well Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy have stepped up to the Premier League - and also their goal threat this season.
The duo have been centre-back partners for Albion since Duffy joined from Blackburn in August, 2016. They starred as Brighton won promotion from the Championship that season and again impressed as Albion stayed in the Premier League last year.
This season, Duffy has netted three goals and Dunk two as the Seagulls sit 11th in the Premier League.
They managed just one goal between them last season and Hughton said: "We've certainly had a concerted effort for a good while on our set-plays. Sometimes you can go through periods where it's working better than others.
"That's been the case this season. Probably we're not working any more on our set-plays this season than what we did last season.
"It's exactly the same as defensively. We had a poor record defending set-plays last season and we're not doing anything dramatically different this season.
"It's circumstance but what they have proven is if it's the right type of ball and the right type of movement, they are a threat and it's great for the team because at this moment we've got Glenn (Murray) scoring goals and a contribution from the two centre-halves.
"What we need at this moment is a contribution from elsewhere, from our wide players and central midfield players.
"But it's been very welcome the goals they have scored."
Hughton added Duffy and Dunk's friendship off the pitch also helps the team and said: "What has helped us dramatically is we have two centre-halves that have not only been brilliant for this club but they get on very, very well together.
"They're good friends and have formed a very good relationship, which I have no doubt helps on the pitch."
Asked if he has been surprised how well they have done as a partnership in the last two years, Hughton said: "Probably no, but you never know. They were excellent in the Championship but what you also know is once they step into the Premier League, they are going to be tested more.
"Perhaps in the Championship we were able to be in a lot of games and probably restrict the amount of real defensive work they had to do.
"You never know with the step up but both of them have been excellent."
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