Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey believes the club’s efforts in lockdown are the reason behind their fine start since the resumption of Premier League football.
The Seagulls were without a victory in 2020 when the top flight was suspended on March 13, with their last three-point haul coming on December 28 against Bournemouth.
It left Graham Potter’s side perilously close to the bottom three and, with a tough fixture list, many predicted the Sussex outfit would drop into the relegation zone when sport resumed.
However, a 2-1 win over Arsenal at the weekend and a 0-0 draw at Leicester on Tuesday has lifted them six points clear of the relegation zone ahead of hosting Manchester United next week.
Lamptey, who made his full debut against the Foxes, told Sky Sports: “I think it shows the hard work everyone did over lockdown, when we got asked to do it, we did it.
“Everyone worked so hard in training and in general. The tempo has been high, we can go the full 90 minutes and we are doing everything the gaffer wants us to do. I think the training has showed in the game.”
The full-back joined Brighton in January from Chelsea and could have celebrated a win had Neal Maupay not been denied by Kasper Schmeichel from the penalty spot.
“I think I did well,” Lamptey added. “I want to say thank you for the gaffer and the team. They help me a lot. Hopefully the first of many (starts).
“Things happen and you have to take the game as it goes. We had a good chance (Maupay’s penalty), we missed it but dug deep and got the draw.”
Leicester have picked up two points from their two games since football returned to remain on course for a top-four finish.
After being pegged back late on in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Watford, the Foxes were not able to breakdown Brighton at an empty King Power Stadium.
Defender Jonny Evans told the club’s website: “You do miss your support, especially in the last 10 minutes when you’re pushing. That’s when they give you a little boost.
“It’s up to us to manage that and try to find that inspiration and put it into the game. I think most teams will find that problem on your home patch where maybe the home fans would (normally) carry you over the line.”
Evans admitted there was a sense of frustration that Leicester had failed to make the most of their second-half dominance.
He added: “We probably didn’t create enough to win the game. They had the penalty in the first half which Kasper has done unbelievable (with). His penalty-saving record is incredible and got us out of trouble.
“We controlled in spells and felt comfortable, especially in the second half, but we didn’t find that final pass.”