Gross learned quickly to enjoy stand-out campaign

Pascal Gross celebrates scoring against West Brom. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Pascal Gross celebrates scoring against West Brom. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Pascal Gross admits he quickly learned about the tough nature of the Premier League and how much he needed to improve.

The German attacking midfielder joined Brighton from Ingolstadt for just £3m last summer and was named Albion's player of the season last week.

A stand-out first season in England has seen Gross bag six goals and provide eight assists so far. He pinpoints the home match with West Brom - the club's fourth league game of the season - as key from an individual viewpoint.

Brighton struggled to see much of the ball - having just 22 per cent of possession - as they began the season with a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.

A 2-0 defeat at Leicester followed and Gross, who was subbed just past the hour mark, said he felt he needed to 'improve and fast' after that game.

Albion dominated their following game, a 0-0 draw at ten-man Watford, before Gross netted twice and set up Tomer Hemed in the 3-1 win against West Brom at the beginning of September.

Gross has not looked back since and said: "The first games you have to learn and learn fast but I expected it to be like that.

"It's a tougher league (than the Bundesliga), more physical and the qualities of the teams is higher.

"The first game we played City but then Leicester wasn't good and I knew I had to improve and fast.

"I had a very good game against West Brom and then I tried to keep my level. I knew how to play the games and how to help the team as good as possible.

"That was a good and very important game for myself."

Gross admits there is still room for him to improve and says he will work hard to do so: “I know my strengths and my hard work - when I do the latter it means I can develop - I believe in myself and I only know about good principals and if you work hard you get rewarded. That’s what I’ll continue to do.

“There is always room to improve. I’m still quite young and I’ll try to keep working hard to get better. I know it’s not easy at a high level but I’ve learnt what I can develop this season - I speak to the coaches and it’s something that I’ll always be looking to do.”

As for international honours with Germany, Gross, 26, said: “The national team is a difficult one to break into – of course it’s a dream but you have to be realistic. To represent your country is everyone’s dream – it’s the same with Lewis (Dunk) and England.”

In the meantime, Gross says the team will fight to keep their place in the Premier League.

Albion head to Burnley on Saturday seven points clear of the relegation with four games to play. He said: "It's all about staying up. That's why we train and why we try to do our job well.

"You have to do your job to stay in the Premier League. It's not easy, it's a tough league and big teams are struggling.

"We are still not safe, so we will fight for our place next year in the Premier League."