Lewis Dunk has only one England cap – food for thought in the week he became Brighton’s lone survivor as the club returned to Wembley..
The Seagulls captain is a better player than some of the dray horses in central defense under Three Lions coach Gareth Southgate. However, as Dunk assisted Brighton in booking their FA Cup semi-final date with Manchester United next month, the first time the sides have met at Wembley since the final – which Brighton lost via a replay – 40 years ago, he warned Brighton that they were also chasing an unlikely Champions League spot next season.
First and foremost, he wants a better outcome than their previous cup semi-final appearance four years ago, when Chris Hughton’s side lost 1-0 to Manchester city…
As the only current Brighton player involved against City in 2019, he warned: “We’re in a different place to where we were then. Look at how many players we had at the World Cup, players who were involved in big events – it doesn’t get any bigger than the World Cup. So, as a club, as a group, we’re in a different place, and we’re going to Wembley confident in our ability to reach the final.
“I wouldn’t say we went there in awe of it last time – we deserved to be there and we were excellent. We stayed in the game all the way, losing only 1-0 to City (who went on to thrash Watford 6-0 in the final).
But we were on the losing side, which was disappointing, so hopefully we can go there and win it next time.”
Brighton’s progress since winning promotion in 2017 was in danger of stalling when Chelsea hired head coach Graham Potter six months ago. However, their choice of Roberto De Zerbi as Potter’s replacement was inspired succession planning for a club that appears to be a genuine contender for their first major trophy in 122 years.
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