Chris Hughton: Brighton motivated for play-offs after missing out on top two

Chris Hughton
Chris Hughton's Brighton missed out on automatic promotion from the Championship on goal difference
Championship play-off semi-final first leg: Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton
Venue: Hillsborough Date: Friday, 13 May Kick-Off: 19:45 BST Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Sussex plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Brighton manager Chris Hughton says his squad need no extra motivation ahead of the Championship play-offs after missing out on automatic promotion.

The Seagulls finished third after a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough on the final day, and will now face Sheffield Wednesday for a place in the final at Wembley.

"I haven't had to do too much," 57-year-old Hughton told BBC Sussex.

"The disappointment the lads showed after the game shows how close we have come, how motivated they are."

Brighton extended their unbeaten run to 14 games at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, but the draw meant they finished below Boro in the table on goal difference.

The Seagulls had gone into the match knowing that victory would have been enough to seal promotion to the Premier League.

"We didn't come away with a loss so there are positives they can gain from that," Hughton said.

"Yes, they were distraught, but I think that is something they will use to their benefit."

Gordon Greer
Brighton skipper Gordon Greer was part of the Albion sides which were beaten at the Championship play-off semi-final stage in 2013 and 2014

Third time lucky for Seagulls?

Brighton lost at the Championship play-off semi-final stage in two of the last three seasons, first to Crystal Palace in 2012-13 and then Derby County in 2013-14.

The Seagulls are looking to reach the top flight for the first time since 1982-83 and captain Gordon Greer says the squad have a "great opportunity" to win promotion.

"It's not been a great experience in the play-offs since I have been at Brighton but hopefully this is our year," the 35-year-old centre-back said.

"It is the aim of the club to get to the Premier League. The infrastructure here is fantastic so it is now about the boys trying to get it right on the park.

"It would definitely be my proudest moment in a Brighton shirt."

Dale Stephens
Dale Stephens will miss both legs of Brighton's play-off tie against Sheffield Wednesday and, if the Seagulls progress, the final at Wembley

Stephens loss 'a blow'

Brighton will be without Dale Stephens for the whole play-off campaign after the Football Association upheld the influential midfielder's three-match suspension for his straight red card at Middlesbrough.

Hughton says the loss of the 26-year-old, who missed only one league game this season, is a "big blow".

"I have to concentrate on the facts," he added.

"We have good competition in the squad and we have gone through periods this season where we have had to miss big players through injury and other situations.

"You have to adjust your squad. When someone misses out it is an opportunity for someone else."

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