Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham: The key points from Chris Hughton's pre-match press conference

Albion boss Chris Hughton spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of Wednesday's Premier League match at West Ham. Here are the key points from the pre-match press conference.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 3:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:20 am
Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Four-year anniversary as Brighton manager

"We've certainly made progress. Our objective was to be where we are now, which is in the Premier League.

"That's what we had attempted to build in the period of time. One, we have to be delighted with that but then you look at other things.

"It's not just about progress of the team, it's about progress of this football club.

"We're certainly in a far better place at this moment than when I came.

"That's down to a lot of things and mostly it's down to the support I've got and have had from the chairman, the owner, the board, the staff that I have, the recruitment over my period of time here has been very good and has enabled us to be where we are.

"As I said without the staff, it's impossible to make any sort of progress unless you have the right people around you and behind you.

"I've had tremendous support over this period of time and at this minute, we're in a good place."

Did you think you'd be where you are now when you arrived four years ago?

"Probably not. If I looked at our efforts to get out of the Championship and when you look at the numerous big clubs who have found it hard to get out of the Championship, then probably not but delighted to be where we are.

"It's been a progress with a lot of hard work behind the scenes."

Ten points above the bottom three, at what point do you stop looking over your shoulder and look higher up the table?

"The answer to that is I don't know. This is our second season in the division, we've not been in that position to be able to give an honest answer.

"My feeling is it won't happen. My feeling is we have to be how we are irrespective of how the next few games go or the period goes after that one.

"We still have to be respectful that this is our second season in the division and the gap between us and the bottom three for quite some time will always be the most important thing.

That's what allows you to develop as team and what allows you to go into games with a little bit more confidence.

"The answer is I don't know because we've not been in that position but it would be nice to be there."

Four points from two games, head into the new year with confidence?

"The pleasing thing for me in the last two games in particular, of course it's about getting points and although these were two homes games, they were against two very good teams, so to have four points from the two games is the most important thing.

"But probably the most pleasing thing was the performance. Not the start against Arsenal because we didn't start well but for 60 to 65 minutes in that game and overall against a good Everton team, we were good.

"That's pleasing. There has got to be something wrong if you are not able to take those type of performances into your next games.

"The stumbling block will always be your next game is going to be a difficult game and we won't be able to play at that level every game. Sometimes it is just about getting a result but I have to be pleased with how the team is performing at the moment."

Anthony Knockaert available?

"He's fine for West Ham.

"What I have at the moment is a position all managers and coaches want, which is to have very good competition for places.

"Probably with a change in formation, it means I am able to be a little bit more tactical than I have been at other times.

"It was solely tactical (on Saturday). He is in the squad for West Ham and it shows how the squad is developing."

Any other injury concerns?

"No new injuries, which going through this difficult period and a cup game on Saturday, you want as many players available as possible.

"Having Lewis Dunk back after suspension was a plus for us, so at the moment from an injury point of view, we're in good shape."

Dan Burn back at the club after loan with Wigan

"He trained this morning for the first time. He is officially back with us.

"He's been our player since the summer but went back out on loan and comes into the fray. We look forward to including him in training.

"One plus with Dan is he is up with speed. He is fit, has been playing games which makes him very much available in the squad.

"He won't be in the squad (for West Ham), simply because today was his first day back today with the squad but he is fit and well."

Expect much business in January?

"At this moment, I don't see us doing much business if anything at all.

"We are fortunate, I think, that we've got players that have been brought in other transfer windows that haven't played as much and are starting to now.

"Andone came in during the summer, Locadia is in good form and on the back of a couple of goals and came this time last year, Bernardo is in the team at the moment. We've got players that have taken a while for whatever reason, not from their endeavours, but because of the form of the team and perhaps little injuries they've picked up.

"At this moment, the squad is in a good place as regards the positions and numbers we have.

"Possibly there won't be any business and if there is it will be very minimal but you can never say no.

"Possibly players will go out on loan, predominantly young players."

Won at West Ham last season, how will you deal with their threat?

"They had a difficult start but are a very good team.

"I know they're on the back of a defeat at Burnley but I thought they were very good at Southampton in midweek.

"They've had a few injury problems which has made the individuals different in a lot of games but they are a very good side.

"They're playing at home and there will be a very big crowd there.

"We did well there last season and it was one of our better performances but what we do remember from last year is we also had to defend very well.

"They have got some very good offensive options, Anderson is playing really well after a difficult start, so I think we will have to defend well.

"I'm glad we're on the back of a first clean sheet in a while but it's somewhere we played well last season and we'll have to get somewhere near that to get something from the game. It will be a very difficult game for us."