Chris Hughton has broken his silence over his sacking by Albion.

The ex-manager says he was "hugely disappointed and surprised" by chairman Tony Bloom's decision to axe him the morning after the end of the season.

He "thoroughly enjoyed" managing a "special" club and has thanked everyone connected with Albion and the community.

Hughton had no inkling of what was about to happen when Bloom broke the news at the Lancing training complex the morning after Albion lost 4-1 to champions Manchester City at the Amex to finish 17th in their second Premier League season, a place above the relegation zone.

Hughton said in a statement released by the League Managers Association: "I was hugely disappointed and surprised, by the decision that was made to end my time with Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my four and a half years managing this special football club. I would like to put on record my gratitude to my coaching staff, the players, fans, everyone connected to the club and the wider community of Brighton & Hove and wish them luck for the future."

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan has described Hughton as an inspirational role model.

Bevan said: "Chris's impressive tenure has been inspirational for his peers in the game. He has helped transform Brighton & Hove Albion, from fighting relegation to League One, to competing with the best teams in the world and retaining Premier League status for yet another season.

"This season, he again proved his managerial ability in also leading his team to the Semi-Final of the FA Cup for only the second time in the club's history.

"He continues to be a tremendous role model for young managers and coaches in the game."

Hughton is taking a brief break from the game to spend time on holiday with his family.

He wants to return to management and has been linked with the vacancy at West Brom.

His successor at the Amex, former Swansea boss Graham Potter, was unveiled as head coach on Monday on a four-year contract.