Tomer Hemed is excited about testing himself in the Premier League next season, with the trip to Old Trafford a match he is already looking forward to.
Hemed top-scored with 17 goals as Albion missed out on promotion in the 2015/16 season. He did not play quite so regularly last season owing to the form of Glenn Murray and Sam Baldock but still scored 14 goals in 41 matches.
The 30-year-old Israeli international cannot wait to play in the top flight of English football next year and said: “After last season, it’s an amazing feeling to come back and to do it, so I think all of us are really happy and looking forward to next year.
“It was important for us to get in the Premier League, especially after what happened to us last season. We were very close and it hurt us but we had two options – to fall down after that or come back stronger and that’s what we’ve done.
“The first few days of last summer were very difficult for us, to finish like that with nothing was difficult, but since the first day of this pre-season, we were focused on how to react and be better this season.”
On what has made the difference this season, compared to last, Hemed said: “It’s difficult to choose one but most of the season our performances away from home were maybe the difference from last season.
“Also, defensively and all of the clean sheets and we scored more goals as well. We were better this season and everyone’s seen we were stronger and in the end that’s what has given us promotion.”
Hemed played for Mallorca and Almeira in La Liga in Spain and is already excited about playing in the top division in England: “I came from the Spanish League, where I played against their best teams and best players.
“I then came here to Brighton, to the Championship, with one target – to get to the Premier League with them and I’m very happy that after two seasons we got it. We’ve done it and now of course me and the team have to show that we can compete in the division.
“I think we have a good group. Of course the club will bring in new players and the team will be stronger. We just have to think about staying in the division, for the first season it will be difficult, but we just have to think about staying in the league and to show that we can compete there.
“We know against which teams we’ll be competing with, we’re not going to be fighting for the title, we know which sides are on our level – and have to show we are better than them.”
On what he will look forward to most next season, Hemed said: “I used to support Manchester United as a kid, so it will be special to play at Old Trafford. It’s the one I’m looking forward to most.”