Friday 18 October 2019

Brighton boss Hughton hails bargain buy Gross

The German has been ever-present in the Premier League.

Pascal Gross
Pascal Gross

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has hailed Pascal Gross as one of the bargain buys of the Premier League season following his important equaliser in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

Creative midfielder Gross cost a reported £3million when he joined newly-promoted Albion from German side Ingolstadt last summer.

He was relatively unknown then but has been a revelation in the top-flight, featuring in all of Albion’s games and contributing to more of their goals than any other player.

The German now has six goals and eight assists in the top-flight after converting from the penalty spot to cancel out Harry Kane’s opener and move Albion eight points clear of the relegation zone.

“I think he’s right up there,” replied Hughton when asked if Gross was the best-value signing of the season.

“At this moment it’s hard to think of individuals and I’m quite sure there will be other clubs who will think they’ve had better value in individuals.

“He’s been outstanding for us all season and I’m pleased for him on the goal because he did play a part on the goal that we conceded and I think for him to go and score that at that time gave him a deserved boost.”

The draw leaves Albion on 36 points and gives them a healthy cushion on the bottom three going into a tricky final four fixtures against Burnley, both Manchester clubs and Liverpool.

Hughton has set his team a target of four points from those games to guarantee their top-flight status.

“I think the performance will go some way towards giving the team confidence in these last four games and of course three of them are against the top six,” said Hughton.

Asked about how many points the Seagulls will need for safety, the 59-year-old added: “The only thing I can always tell you is 40 points, that’s the one that’s sort of engrained in most of us managers’ minds.

“You probably can’t afford to think any different.”

Despite being pegged back on the south coast, Tottenham moved eight points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification.

Spurs now face an FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United on Saturday.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino is pleased that his side’s European destiny remains in their own hands and called for focus from his players as they attempt to achieve their double objective of a top-four finish and cup glory.

“If at the end you won the FA Cup, you’re not going to play the Champions League next season,” said Pochettino.

“You are only going to play the Champions League if you finish in the top four and of course it’s important and our fans will be excited to play, we are excited to play.

“Now we need to think about the next one which is Manchester (United).

“It’s up to us. We need to be focused and try to win every single game if we want to do something important.”

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