We proved a lot of people wrong - Stephens

Dale Stephens. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Dale Stephens. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Dale Stephens feels Brighton proved a lot of people wrong this season by staying in the Premier League.

Albion were one of the favourites to go down with pundits and betting companies after promotion from the Championship last season.

The Seagulls moved on to 40 points for the season and secured their place in the top flight for next year with Friday's win against Manchester United and Stephens admitted staying in the Premier League is a similar feeling to last year's promotion.

The midfielder said: "This is up there (with last year). It's what we worked so hard for during pre-season and all through the season.

"We obviously came up from the Championship last year and were one of the favourites to go down I guess.

"We've proved a lot of people wrong. In the changing room we were confident enough to stay up this year and it speaks volumes of the dressing room.

"We built a good squad over pre-season and we've proved to everybody that you can come up and compete at this level.

"The boys have done themselves proud. This is a big achievement for everyone associated with the club and we're hoping to build on what we've done this year and make a bigger statement next year."

Stephens added Albion could have sealed safety a few games earlier and said: "We've been unlucky not to win a few more games. We've probably been disappointed not to win games, rather than coming away from a game thinking 'how have we won that?'

"We could have been out of sight a few games ago but, look, we've done it with two games to go and we'll take that.

"To do it at the Amex in front of a full house and against a top team like Manchester United makes the night very special."

Albion now complete their season away to Manchester City on Wednesday and then Liverpool on Sunday. Stephens said: "They're tough games but good games. They're games we want to get good results in.

"We want to test ourselves against the best players and we're coming up against two teams who are full of them.

"It's another special two games for us. The pressure might be off but we want to go into those games and hold our own and we've got a good chance to do that."