Chris Hughton meets Rafa Benitez once again on Sunday and is full of praise for the Newcastle manager.

Last season saw the Brighton boss lose out in both games to Rafa and of course on that memorable final day, as Newcastle United claimed the Championship title.

Despite Brighton’s net spend of £48m in the summer compared to Newcastle’s £11.5m, fair to say that all eyes were on how NUFC performed, with certain expectations over and above the other promoted clubs, and no allowances would/will be made by the media if United fail.

Chris Hughton says his opposite number has managed those expectations ‘very well’.

The Brighton boss believes that any situation Rafa comes up against, he will have the benefit of having faced it before in his managerial career.

As for Newcastle’s three wins on the bounce and decent performances, Chris Hughton believes it is a lot to do with the players Rafa Benitez bought in over a year ago and who played in the Championship – no doubt the likes of Ciaran Clark, Isaac Hayden, DeAndre Yedlin and especially Matt Ritchie on Hughton’s mind.

Chris Hughton:

“I think Rafa Benitez has managed them (the expectations) very well.

“A reflection of that is always the points you have got.

“Any team getting promotion to the Premier League and then starting the season with nine points out of a possible fifteen, is a very good achievement.

“So certainly Newcastle have had a good start and continuity from last season.

“They have a lot of players at this particular moment playing well, who have been with them for a while now.

“He is a very good manager, very experienced, and he will have gone through any situation that he’s faced.

“Recruitment is not just about one window.

“Newcastle recruited very well last season and some of those players that are performing particularly well this season, are players that played the whole of last season.

“We recognised at the start of the season it would be a tougher season.

“The players’ mindsets have been very good and so has the training and what we need to do is put as much of that into practice on the main arena and the next opportunity is against Newcastle.

“They’ve got lots of qualities and different ways of winning games. So not surprised, it’s a tough division and you have to find different ways of winning.”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Can El Supremo keep the run going on Sunday

    • Paul Patterson

      I’d take a point now.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        i think we`ll beat them

        • Paul Patterson

          I hope so, we’re good enough. Just to stay unbeaten and I never knock an away point.

          • Toonrobbybobson

            Clean sheet is what I’m looking for and whatever happens with the rest is a bonus. We have to build on being solid. I found myself so fed up at conceding to Stoke. My how things have changed supporting the toon haha!

  • Andy Mac

    Hoots is a special kind of ex manager. I wouldnt be upset if we lost to them because of all the crapola he suffered despite delivering the numbers for the Fatman. It was just another sad and sorrowful event in the history of Fatso’s miserable reign the day he sacked Hughton and then brought in possibly the worst successor in the history of NUFC. (Soz forget Souness the Clueless after SBR).

    However Hoots is also right to say that Rafa’s footballing knowledge is a major factor when lining up against less experienced managers. Fortunately it’s early enough in the season for either team to take a defeat on Sunday and still be in the mix come next May

  • Kneebotherm8

    Yeah Chris,and you managed the expectations well when you were here too.
    In fact,given the backing you got from our owner,you totally exceeded expectations,only to be,unceremoniously booted out by the ungrateful individual.
    Best of luck,to you and your team(after this weekends game of course).

  • Toonrobbybobson

    Always a gent and always be welcomed by Geordies. Top top man! Wish him all the best besides our game and would like to see him crack the Premier League and become a top prem manager.

  • bhapilar

    As a Brighton supporter, I found the battle between our teams last season was terrific and well done on your number 1 spot ( thats not to say I wasn´t disappointed at not getting top spot ourselves ).
    I think that both managers share a wealth of experience and I see you comfortable in mid table by May. We will have more of a struggle as we try to get our new players to gel and still need a front man who can knock a few goals in.
    Like last season I am expecting a tight affair ( I still remember that looped deflection into the goal at the Amex ) with the hope of a 1 – 1 draw but praying for a 2 – 1 win.
    Good luck for the rest of the season.