Chris Hughton congratulated Newcastle United after Brighton and Hove Albion were pipped to the Championship title.
Hughton’s side were denied the league title by a late goal from Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.
I’d like to congratulate Newcastle on a wonderful season – they’ve just beaten us to it.Chris Hughton
Grealish’s strike saw Brighton held to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
The result meant Newcastle’s 3-0 home win over Barnsley was enough to see them win the league.
Hughton guided United to the Championship title in the 2009-10 season.
And Brighton’s manager, still a popular figure on Tyneside, was quick to congratulate his former club on winning the league.
“I’d like to congratulate Newcastle on a wonderful season – they’ve just beaten us to it.” said Hughton.
“I think the two best teams this season are the two that have gone up automatically.”
Hughton insisted that missing out on the title must not overshadow the Brighton’s promotion to the Premier League.
Goalkeeper David Stockdale’s error handed Grealish an 89th-minute equaliser.
Glenn Murray’s second-half penalty almost gave Brighton the victory they needed after Nathan Baker was sent off for fouling Sam Baldock.
And Hughton said: “Today is a negative day – it’s difficult – but there are far more pluses.
“What these lads have achieved this season has been magnificent.
“David has been excellent for us all season, and he had made two very good saves from free-kicks before.
“There’s never any portion of blame. We have to accept it as a team.
“For us the season is finished and we have achieved our goal.
“We’re playing in a division where there are some very big teams who have spent big money, and we have managed to come in the top two.”