Brighton boss Chris Hughton has dismissed suggestions that his team will ‘choke again’.
The most important piece of evidence he calls upon, is that he doesn’t believe that this is what happened last season.
Brighton only managed draws in their final two games and upgrading to a win in either would have delivered automatic promotion, as they agonisingly lost out on goal difference.
Chris Hughton insists that it was just another example of how tough every game is in the Championship, with draws against both Derby and Middlesbrough putting a block on promotion last season, with a play-off defeat to Sheffield Wednesday the final insult.
So is Hughton’s claim about not being ‘chokers’ closer to the truth?
Well if you look back to the final stages of last season it is hard to see how overall you can claim Brighton crumbled.
Yes they drew their final two games but when you see that they were unbeaten in their final 14 Championship matches and lost only one of their last 20, it doesn’t a team that couldn’t handle the pressure.
Nine games left this season for Brighton and Newcastle, Huddersfield with a game in hand.
Last season Chris Hughton’s team had 68 points at this stage, nine less than they have at the minute. Brighton added another 21 points from their final nine games last season, the same form would take them to 98 points and surely certain promotion this season.
If so, hopefully Newcastle are still up there keeping them company.
Chris Hughton speaking to The Argus:
“It was close to the end, a home game (second last match of the season v Derby).
“It was a game at that stage of the season we had to win to put us in a better position. Probably that was the one. But what we have here is a very good and competitive group of players.”
“People will always put their take on losing a game, the word choking and so on.
“I never see it that way. This is always such a competitive league and you cannot win all of your games.
“There will be some games where you reach your levels, others that you can’t.
“Even in that game (Derby) I wouldn’t have put it down to the fact that the occasion was too big – it is just down to the fact that you are playing against very good opposition every week.
“Thankfully for us, on more occasions than not, we have reached very good levels this season.
“As regards to what the players put into every game, mentally they are in a very good position in the large majority of the games they play. It’s more about the competition levels than choking.”