Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola thinks Brighton “deserve” all the credit they are getting ahead of his side’s visit to the Amex Stadium on Sunday.
The Cherries have yet to win in the Premier League so far this term but were handed a difficult fixture list with their first five games being against West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham, Brentford and Chelsea. They now face another tricky outing with a trip to face the Seagulls.
Brighton’s brilliant start to the campaign – Roberto De Zerbi’s men had won four out of five matches prior to Thursday’s home defeat to AEK Athens on their Europa League debut – has not surprised many, including Iraola, who has been impressed by their constant improvements.
He told a press conference: “They are playing very very well, I think they are the team that has scored most goals in the Premier League.
“Except the West Ham game they have scored three or more so we have to be ready to defend well and make them think defensively.
“They have done a very difficult thing. They have been improving every single year from the last seasons, at the end they achieved to play in Europe with an amazing season.
“They are a team that is playing with clear identity I think the praise they are receiving they deserve it.”
The Seagulls defeated Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford last Saturday but were unable to follow it up with victory on Thursday as AEK claimed a shock 3-2 win.
That was Brighton’s first game in Europe but Iraola does not think De Zerbi’s side, who made seven changes from the win at United, will struggle with the physical elements of playing twice in a week.
The former Spain and Athletic Bilbao defender added: “They have made a lot of subs and changed a lot of their team between the Old Trafford game and the other night.
“The physical side of the game will be important because they have a very good squad, have made the changes, performed well. You never know what you prefer when they played before, is it better if they win? Or better when they lose?
“At the end the game plan will not change, they know what they are trying to do and and we know what we are trying to do.”
Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke has made a good start to the season, featuring in every game for the team and chipping in with two goals and one assist.
Iraola thinks the 26-year-old is developing into a top player.
He added: “I think it is clear since day one he is a very good number nine.
“He gives us a lot of things apart from the goals. He’s having the chances, the other day he scored two but had other chances. Every game he has had a clear chance, which is a very good thing.
“I always tell the number nines that miss goals, it is a good sign because in the end he will score because he has the qualities and also he knows he has to help the team.”