The 29-year-old admitted that he hit rock bottom last season when a loan move to Celtic took him away from the Premier League club, and while it was a tough year at club level, the big Derry man bounced back on Saturday to help Brighton secure all three points.
Starting in the centre of defence, once again, with long-term partner Lewis Dunk, Duffy impressed for Graham Potter’s side and the Ireland international said that he felt like he had come home following the fixture.
“It feels like I have come home, it really is a special club for me,” said Duffy, speaking on the club’s website.
“I missed being here too much, and I wanted to come back. It was down to me, as this club means a lot in my heart.
“I have missed that feeling of playing for Brighton and getting three points; giving Dunky and Webby a big hug at the final whistle, it was such a great feeling.”
Duffy admits that Saturday’s start is only the beginning of his journey back to cementing his place in the Brighton first team ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, but he says that he is grateful for the support that the club have shown him over the past 12 months.
“I am never going to give up and until I am told otherwise I am going to keep fighting until the last day.
“The club has been brilliant even when they knew I was having a difficult spell both on and off the pitch at Celtic.
“They were always in contact and seeing how I was. It is still early days, and I still do not know exactly what the manager wants – and he obviously needed me on Saturday and I was there for him – but he has been great with me.
“When I moved away I realised what I was missing, and I have reflected on that over the summer and it is now up to me, and what the manager wants, and we have just got to keep working hard together.”
Duffy, who is expected to play a major role in Ireland’s upcoming international fixtures, said that he has never worked harder in pre-season and hopes that his endeavours will bear fruit throughout the campaign.
“When I came back after my loan it was a big weight off my shoulders. It was like I had come home and the comfort started to come back.
“When you hit rock bottom that is the reality check. A lot was going wrong off the field, which was difficult for me and I had to get through that and that was tough mentally.
“I changed a few things in my life over the last few months and I have come back with a different mindset and approach to things.
“I did that from the first day of pre-season, but my expectations weren’t high and I just said to myself I would try to do the best I can and help the team in any way I can.
“The manager has been really honest and he has been great with me.
“I was delighted to get a little bit of luck [starting on Saturday], but I also feel you earn your luck with a bit of hard work, how you are off the pitch and how you are around the lads. The manager is big on that.
“I feel like I can help the squad, even if at times I am not playing, and it was really nice to get back on the grass.”Tags: