Terriers, Seagulls and Magpies aim to surprise
By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - As relegated Hull City and Middlesbrough proved last season, surviving in the Premier League after winning promotion is no easy matter, but the three new arrivals in the top flight this season are determined to stay around.
Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion are back in the elite after lengthy absences while Newcastle United are an established Premier League team who bounced back at the first attempt following relegation.
Recent history suggests the odds are against promoted clubs.
Since the Premier League reduced its size to 20 teams in 1995, 47 percent of promoted clubs have been relegated in their first season and 60 percent have gone back down within two years.
But none of that has dampened the enthusiasm, particularly at Huddersfield, the Yorkshire "Terriers" back in the top flight after a 45 year absence.
Huddersfield, English champions three times in the 1920's, were relegated from the old first division in 1972 and struggled in the lower divisions and bottom end of the Championship before being transformed by German coach David Wagner.
"We can feel the atmosphere in the town and we ourselves are excited but we have to be focused on our work," said the former Borussia Dortmund assistant coach.
"I will never decelerate excitement though, it makes totally no sense, everybody should keep that excitement. It can help you to make the steps you can't normally do," he said.
Wagner has brought in nine new signings so far, tapping into his European contacts. He says they have settled in and is confident he can get them to gel into an effective unit in time.
"I think the good thing is that we have already a good base," he told Reuters.
"If you have a good dressing room it is easier for the other guys to settle in quick. This is what has happened. I know this is extraordinary."
Brighton's Chris Hughton is returning to the top division after managing Newcastle and Norwich City in the top tier.
“We don’t have many (players) who have played in the Premier League but it is a wonderful step and a massive challenge. They know in most games we will be the underdogs. You are looking at your personalities to rise to that challenge," he said.
The Seagulls last appeared in the top division in 1983 but Newcastle hope their more recent experience, big budget and 50,000 plus crowds, will ensure a smooth return.
Spanish manager Rafa Benitez, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid coach, has sold 18 players and signed 17 in the past year, and it would be no surprise to see more changes before the start of the season.
Benitez has been pushing for more investment but with expectations always high on Tyneside, he will need his side to hit the ground running.
Making the adjustment from the Championship, where Newcastle dominated possession, to the Premier League where they will often be on the back foot, is one area of work the Magpies have focused on.
"We’re going to come up against teams in the Premier League who are going to have a lot more possession than we have. It was different in the Championship where we were the team to go to," said midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
"We need to get used to not having the ball and being compact and narrow."
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)