ALBION ambassador Alan Mullery has paid tribute to the “brilliant” job done by Chris Hughton.

The manager has been rewarded by owner-chairman Tony Bloom with a new three-year contract after keeping the Seagulls in the Premier League.

Mullery, the first manager to take Albion into the top flight of English football and keep them there, told The Argus: “Brilliant, he deserves it. I’m delighted. He’s done the job that everyone wanted him to do and he has gone about it in a very nice manner. He’s done really well.”

Albion stayed up in 15th place with two matches and seven points to spare after beating Manchester United at the Amex earlier this month in their final home game.

Hughton, the Manager of the Month for February, guided Albion to third place in the Championship and the play-offs in his first full season in charge, then promotion the following year.

Bloom said: “Chris’s record as our manager is absolutely superb, he has been great for the club and his measured and calm approach brings out the very best in all around him.

“Our first-ever Premier League season has been a brilliant experience for the club, with some iconic moments, including an unforgettable night at the Amex against Manchester United to secure our Premier League status earlier this month.

“Chris’s diligent approach is respected across football. He thoroughly deserves his new contract and on behalf of everyone at the Albion I’d like to thank him for a wonderful season.”

Hughton’s new deal until June 2021 replaces the four-year contract he signed in May 2016 after just missing out on promotion.

The Seagulls were in relegation trouble in the Championship when the 59-year-old ex-Spurs stalwart and Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich boss succeeded Sami Hyppia on a three-and-a-half year contract on New Year’s Eve 2014.

Chief executive Paul Barber said: “Chris has been an absolute pleasure to work with on a day-to-day basis. He understands the club, the community and what it takes to make progress and bring success - and he is delivering both on and off the pitch.

“His record since arriving three-and-a-half years ago has been outstanding and he thoroughly deserves this new contract.”

Hughton, already the fourth longest-serving manager in the Premier League and 11th longest in the country, said: “I’m delighted to have extended my time with the club and I would like to thank the chairman, the board, my staff and everyone at the club, including our fans, for the support we’ve had in achieving our aims.”

Hughton attended the League Managers’ Association awards evening last night before joining his staff, players and directors in Las Vegas, a trip promised by Bloom if Albion stayed up.

The challenge now is to keep on improving after coming within two places of the club’s highest-ever finish under Mike Bailey.

Mullery said: “There are two dilemmas on that. In the first season you are there you are learning. In the second season people are not going to be generous, because they know you can be a decent side.

“The other problem that comes along, bringing players into your club, is money. Not only are the fees going to be higher, because they know it’s Brighton, but also the salaries for players will go haywire and we can’t afford to do that.

“What the chairman has done over a period of time is absolutely unbelievable but I was reading that Pochettino wants £100 million at Spurs to better his club. We can’t do that, we can’t compete at that level, it’s ridiculous.

“And think what Harry Kane will want, so we are still learning our trade but on a lot lower basis than a lot of other clubs in the Premier League.”