Hughton Previews Manchester City Opener
Manager Chris Hughton has been previewing the Premier League kick off against Manchester City this weekend and given an injury update as well.
Opening up the Premier League campaign of 2017/18 against Pep Guardiola's boys, Brighton will of course be making their rebranded top flight bow following automatic promotion from the championship last campaign but although optimism is high, we do have a few players missing.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media for his first proper pre game press conference of the new year, Hughton explained on the injury front.
'Sam Baldock had surgery on his calf during the summer. He`s got back into part-training, but we`re expecting him to be out for a little while. The problem with that was he had to rest for a good period in the summer, so everything was later. We still expect that to be a little bit longer. We had some bad news with Beram Kayal, who came off at half-time in Sunday`s game, and he`s got a small break in his fibia, which was operated on today. We expect him to be out for a period of up to 12 weeks. The good news is that it was a clean injury and the operation went well; we don`t expect any complications. It`s bad news for us and him, but apart from that we`ve been very fortunate during this pre-season period.'
With the game being our Premier League debut, Hughton was of course asked for his thoughts on that.
'We`re all glad that it has come around, because when you have that initial excitement, you know that has to drop down at some stage, and the reality is we`re playing in arguably the toughest league there is. The work starts from the day you get promotion. It`s normal that the players and supporters are going to be celebrating for a period of time, but we have had to come down to reality.'
Hughton went on to say that he had full faith in the group assembled though but of course it's going to be an incredibly tough year for the club as we step up.
'We`ve got a very level-headed group of professionals that have trained well every week and have applied themselves very well for games. But this division is far tougher and we`ll certainly need all of the experienced heads around us.'
As for Manchester City themselves, he knew it would be an incredible test but again this is what we wanted promotion for.
'City been outstanding in pre-season, and if we`re looking at a team gelling and showing the quality that they have, they have definitely shown that already. What you hope is that when you get to that first game, you`ve got the right levels and you can look back on pre-season and know you`ve got it right.'
He went on to say.
'For us, were up against top-class opposition that will have more possession than what we do. It`s going to be a very tough opening game, but we have to play them at some stage. It`s a wonderful game for the club and supporters, as a first game in the Premier League, but we have to make sure it`s a good day for the team as well.'
There was also praise for Pep Guardiola and the way he conducts himself.
'One thing that he`s very open about saying, is that he`s learning all of the time. I don`t think anybody can dispute what a brilliant manager he is, but he`s very humble about himself. He`s still learning about the Premier League and that`s why he`s brought in the level of players he has, to improve a Manchester City side and put them in a better position to win the title. You have only got to look at the signings so far, and that shows the intent to improve defensively. There are some strong teams in this division; on paper they have a wonderful squad and lots of different options. I`d be very surprised if they weren't right up there at the end.'