‘Gus Poyet’s high standards the key to Brighton’s success’
Casper Ankergren says his manager's lofty ambitions helped inspire Brighton to the League One title
Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Casper Ankergren believes manager Gus Poyet’s high standards have been the secret behind their League One success this season.
The Seagulls secured promotion last Tuesday after a dramatic 4-3 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge and guaranteed the title with a hard-fought win at Walsall on Saturday.
Ankergren, speaking at the PFA awards in London on Sunday, said: “He [Gus] was asking us to be perfect and although there’s no such thing in football, we were close, the way we did it, the way we played – he’s very, very pleased. He couldn’t ask for much more I think.
“At the beginning of the season I had a chat with him and he said he thought a top six finish would be possible. But no, we finished first – an amazing season.
“My head is a bit sore and I’m a bit tired today but it’s worth it – we got promoted and went up as champions. You can’t ask for more, we had a great season. For the whole team, the squad and for the fans, I’m just very, very pleased.”
Ankergren, who made his Seagulls debut in the opening day victory against Swindon, also said each member of the squad played a vital role in Brighton’s first silverware since 2004.
“For me, there’s no-one above the team – it’s a team effort, it’s the whole squad so Glenn Murray stands out with his 21 goals, but without the rest of the players, he would be nothing,” continued the 31-year-old.
“I don’t see him as being the stand-out player because without Elliot Bennet and Craig Noone, without the whole team, he wouldn’t have scored his goals so it’s a simple as that.”
The Dane, who twice won the nPower League One Player of the Month award this season, added that success with Brighton went one better than promotion from League One with Leeds last year.
“I played a lot of games for Leeds last season when we went up but I didn’t play the last eight or nine games and that was a big blow for me,” he said.
“I’ve played every game in the league this season and obviously it’s great, that’s what you want to do as a footballer you want to play every game and win and achieve something.”