Securing Premier League survival “means everything” to Brighton said manager Chris Hughton after the Seagulls’ 1-0 win over Manchester United ensured another season in the top flight.
Pascal Gross’ header from Jose Izquierdo’s cross was cleared by Marcos Rojo – but from just behind the line, with goalline technology awarding the only goal of the game.
“It is great for us going into the last two games knowing. We have come a long way and through some tough periods,” Hughton added.
Brighton’s first top-flight campaign since 1983 concludes with away games against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Albion – who had not won in their previous seven games – had the better chances against United and David de Gea did well to deny Glenn Murray and Izquierdo.
Marcus Rashford forced a good save from Mat Ryan in the second half.
The Seagulls were looking comfortable on 4 March when they beat Arsenal 2-1 to move into the top half of the Premier League. But seven games without a win in all competitions since then had seen some doubt creep in.
However, after moving on to 40 points and into 11th place, they cannot be caught by the bottom three – prompting a party atmosphere at the final whistle – and Chris Hughton can start getting ready for the club’s second season in the top flight since 1983.
Anthony Knockaert and Izquierdo were fantastic on the two wings – likewise Gross in the centre – and caused United problems from start to finish.
Brighton did not create many chances following that goal but showed good game management to see the game out.
Albion are now eight points above the relegation zone, but because Swansea and Southampton, who have three games left, play each other on Tuesday, it is impossible for both sides to get enough points to catch Brighton.