DALE STEPHENS has revealed why he won’t lose his head over criticism from the stands.

The influential midfielder impressed in Albion’s 2-1 Premier League win over Crystal Palace and is regarded as a mainstay by boss Chris Hughton.

But some supporters are quick to criticise if he does not always move the ball forward, especially at the Amex when Albion are on the attack.

Asked whether it bothers him, Stephens told The Argus: “No, it’s part of my job.

“When a game is frantic, you probably need that calm head and I am the calm head in the team.

“Whether it is a pass backwards or sidewards, it is about keeping possession and we have to build from there.”

He added: “If we had done that more (against Palace) we probably could have won the game more comfortably.

“It was probably needed more then than any other occasion.”

The 29-year-old anchored a midfield featuring Dutchman Davy Propper and Mali international Yves Bissouma at Palace, with Anthony Knockaert and Alireza Jahanbakhsh on the flanks.

The Seagulls’ strength in depth is appreciated by Stephens.

He said: “There is a lot of quality throughout the squad.

“I’d probably say, within our team, between us and the goalkeepers, it is probably the strongest position throughout the squad.

“Whoever comes in, we know our roles and not too much differs and we show the quality that we have.”