Dunk on staying up, where Brighton can improve and next season

Lewis Dunk felt Brighton could have sealed Premier League safety sooner than they did as he reflected on an amazing season.

Saturday, 19th May 2018, 6:30 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:28 am
Lewis Dunk celebrates scoring against Arsenal. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

The Seagulls finished 15th in their first campaign in the top tier of English football since the 1982/83 season.

Dunk, who played every minute of every league game, felt the team’s character shone through to stay up but he feels there will be things to improve on next season.

Albion lost their final game 4-0 at Liverpool last Sunday but Dunk said: “It’s been an amazing season.

“We set out to stay in this league and we stayed there. It was a tough task and the boys gave everything.

“It showed the character we’ve got by beating Manchester United to stay in this league. Credit to everyone involved, the players, staff, everyone, it’s been a great season.

“We were coming into the unknown. Only a few of the boys had ever played in the Premier League, so we always knew it would be a tough task.

“But I feel we settled in quite well over the first few games and had some really good performances during the season.”

Dunk felt the wins against Arsenal and Manchester United and draw with Tottenham were particular highlights of the season and said: “You can see what the top six sides can do to you but we managed to get quite a few points off them in the end.

“At the start of the season, I didn’t think we would, so that’s a positive of the season.

“We’re a completely different side at home. We’re much more offensive at home and enjoy being on the ball there and that’s got to be a positive we can take.

“We’ve picked up some good points against the top six, but our battle next season will be against the teams in and around us. They’re the ones you have to win.”

One frustration for Dunk was Albion’s away form as the Seagulls collected just 11 points from their 19 league games – the lowest in the division – and scored only ten goals.

He said: “We’ve got to be disappointed with ourselves for the away form. I don’t think we picked up enough points.

“We probably should have been safe before we were. There were quite a few away games where we were so close but we just didn’t have that killer instinct to win the game or pick up a draw, which was very frustrating.”

Looking to next season, Dunk feels survival has to be the main objective again before Brighton can set their sights higher.

He said: “For a team like us, we’ve got to stay in this league first and foremost.

“If we can do it quicker next year then hopefully we can creep up towards mid-table and you never know what can happen.

“We don’t know who’s coming in and out this summer, so we’ll have to see what happens there and be ready to go again.”