Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens is targeting a better performance from the Seagulls as they get set to open the home part of their schedule against Manchester United.
The 29-year old has put last week's 2-0 defeat to Watford behind him and is fully focused on recording a positive result against the Red Devils, whom Brighton beat 1-0 in the corresponding fixture to secure their league status.
Stephens 'looking forward' to 'massive game' against United
"It was obviously a disappointing start to the season for us, but we’ve come back in this week and dissected the game to take out what we need," Stephens said. "We’re now fully looking forward to a massive game this weekend."
“With it being the first game, we wanted to start strong," he said, reflecting on the Watford. "It took us a little while to get going last season, so we were conscious of making a fast start this time around.
“But it’s only one game. We’ve still got a lot of football to be played, it’s not all doom and gloom," he continued. "We’ve got a massive game to start a run on Sunday.”
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Midfielder stresses importance of strong home form
Pascal Gross scored the goal that went down as perhaps the greatest in club history last May and Stephens feels “It helps on the belief side of things [beating Manchester United], but we put in many good performances last season, especially at home.
“We’re going to look to do that throughout this season - it’s massive for a club like ours to be strong at home," he feels. "It’s probably what kept us up last season. If we’re going to build on what we did last time, then we’re definitely going to have to improve on our away form.”
Bissouma already making a positive impression according to Stephens
The Seagulls bolstered their midfield ranks with the signing of Yves Bissouma from Lille OSC and Stephens is quick to point out the effect the Malian is already having.
“Bissouma looks a very exciting talent - along with Ali, he’s come in and freshened things up." He is also sure that "he’ll get a lot more game time this season. It’s exciting for that calibre of player to come in and help us."
“He’s a good lad - he doesn’t speak much English but he’s improved since walking through the door," he continued. "He’s a good character and has a bundle of ability. I’m sure the Brighton fans will be excited to see that throughout the season.”