Chris Hughton said Brighton cannot afford to rest after they earned a 1-0 win over Everton just two days before his fourth anniversary as manager.
Jurgen Locadia’s second Premier League goal of the season settled a cagey encounter at the Amex Stadium in Brighton’s favour and sent the Seagulls into the new year on the back of two unbeaten matches following a 1-1 draw against Arsenal in their previous outing.
Hughton took over at Brighton in December 2014 and secured automatic promotion from the Championship in April 2017, before guiding the club to 15th place in the table the following season.
Following a victory that leaves the club 13th in the table, Hughton paid tribute to the Brighton hierarchy, saying: “I’ve had great support from this club, from the chairman, the board, the recruitment staff and of course my own staff.
“It’s been a good development for this club, but what we can’t afford to do is rest where we are.
“You’ve only got to look at some of the results from today. Teams that have found it difficult this season are now getting big results.
“We’ll need to continue to get results, and I’m hoping that as a club and as a team we can continue to make progress.”
— Jürgen Locadia (@locadiaofficial) December 29, 2018
Hughton picked out defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy for praise after the pair kept Everton’s Richarlison, Bernardo and Theo Walcott at bay.
Dunk came back into the side at the expense of Nigerian defender Leon Balogun and played well, while Duffy made a key intervention to block Richarlison’s shot after goalkeeper David Button spilled the ball in the box.
Hughton highlighted the duo’s bearing on the game, saying: “It’s important because they know each other very well, and that’s not taking anything away from Leon Balogun, who’s played well in the last few games for us.
“But they’re a partnership that know each other very well, and they had to deal with a fair bit of pressure towards the end of the game.
“It’s been a good year for us. We’re on the back of two really good performances, both at home against two very good teams.”
Everton must prepare for a home game against Leicester City on New Year’s Day and Hughton’s opposite number Marco Silva bemoaned the fixture congestion after a third defeat in four games.
The Toffees lost their last match at Goodison Park 6-2 against Tottenham and Silva called for improvement from his players, telling Everton TV: “It is important to be strong again and ready for the next match in three days.
“We don’t have time to prepare in the normal way but that is the schedule and we have to put in our players’ minds how important the next game is.
“We have to change our recent form at home and give a different answer. It will be a tough match but we have to give 100 per cent to win it.”
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