"It’s no great surprise that Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield stayed in the Premier League at the first time of asking. Just look at their most recent games. Eight of Newcastle’s starting 11 played in the Championship last year, as did seven for Huddersfield and seven for Brighton. They came up with specific core values, and however tempting it may to abandon those with new found riches, they did not – and they’ve reaped the rewards.
"Yes, you can’t just stick with the exact same team that got you up. But you need to look at what got you promoted, stick to your principles and add just a splattering of quality to supplement what has already been successful for you. There is so much more to a team and its success than the 11 players on the pitch. You need to ensure a strong dressing room, that the character of incoming complement what you already have, and that there is as little unrest as possible. If you change too much too soon you lose that togetherness and spirit.
"But if you stick with a core group, the manager already knows what they are all about – their characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, and how they are able to cope with adversity. They had a strong defence as the basis of their game in the Championship, and instead of looking to change the way they play, they stuck to their guns. This year only six teams have conceded less than Newcastle, while only seven have let in fewer than Brighton.