Irish manager reflects on the season that was for a club heading to the Premier League
Brighton manager Chris Hughton says he was "pleasantly surprised" by what his team achieved in winning promotion to the Premier League.
The Irishman guided the club into the top flight for the first time in the Premier League as one of two clubs to go automatically, alongside former club Newcastle United.
Speaking to Off The Ball, the ex-Ireland defender and assistant boss shared the factors he felt were key.
"I've been pleasantly surprised. Our thinking at the start of the season was he'd had a tough end to last season and our thinking was we again wanted to challenge and make sure that we were up there at least challenging for an opportunity at promotion," he said.
Given the competitive nature of the division and how some strong clubs missed out on the automatic and playoff places, he added: "I'm really pleasantly surprised that we were in that Top Two for most of the season."
The mentality and drive of the players was what gave Hughton "most satisfaction" and also feels that Brighton "have recruited well", highlighting signings like Ireland defender Shane Duffy "who has really added to what we've got" as well as Glenn Murray and Steve Sidwell.
"But the biggest factor was the motivation. I had a group of players that were really motivated and really enjoyed being at the top of the table," he said.