Chris Hughton insists an upcoming FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City is not distracting Brighton from their Premier League relegation battle.
Albion face Pep Guardiola’s City at Wembley on April 6 following a dramatic penalty shoot-out success at Millwall prior to the international break.
Before their big day out in London, the 15th-placed Seagulls, who are five points above the bottom three with nine fixtures remaining, host struggling Southampton and then travel to Chelsea.
“I can’t govern what they (the players) talk about in the changing rooms and there are things that we have to talk about a semi-final because arrangements have to be made and things like tickets,” said manager Hughton.
“But as regards the work that we do and the meetings that we do, there hasn’t been any talk of the semi-final.
“All of our talk and all of our work has been very much on, in particular, one Premier League game (Southampton) and then of course after that one it’s the Chelsea one.
“We’re on the back of a good period – two important league wins and of course a quarter-final which has put everybody on a high.
“And initially it is about making sure that we bring everybody back down from that, which is our business. The most important thing for us is Premier League points.”
Successive top-flight victories against bottom club Huddersfield and rivals Crystal Palace have helped ease the tension around the Amex Stadium after 2019 began with a seven-game winless run in the league.
With the Terriers and Fulham cut adrift and appearing doomed to the drop, Albion look to be one of six clubs attempting to avoid joining them.
However, ahead of Saturday’s visit of Saints – who are a place and three points below Albion having played a game more – Hughton is refusing to rule out any club.
“We have to keep fighting and be as competitive as we can and to think that all of the teams below us are very capable of winning games and climbing out of danger. That’s the type of pressure that we need to continue to put on ourselves,” he said.
“Nobody knows what it will take. I don’t think we can afford to start thinking of three, four, five points.
“I would certainly rather start thinking about 40 points, which is what I’ve always done.”