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Hughton: We Were Always In The Game

By Kieran Cleeves • 17 March 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton was complimentary about his team’s performance against Manchester United, but admitted they needed to show more quality in the final third, as they lost 2-0 and exited the Emirates FA Cup.

The Seagulls had 17 shots throughout the match, but Jose Mourinho’s men converted both of their two shots on target at Old Trafford to progress to the next round of the competition.

Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic headed home either side of half-time to seal victory for the hosts, and despite the defeat, Hughton praised his players for their committed performance.

He said, “I thought we were [well in the game], certainly as regards to the amount of shots we had and shots on target. We might not have had a lot of possession, but you expect that here.

“We were always a threat but needed to work the goalkeeper a little bit more. We needed to have that little bit more quality once getting into the final third.

“As regards to the overall performance of the team, I was delighted with that. But you know the game is won and lost at both ends.

“When you look at Lukaku’s goal, it’s what he does and he showed the quality to get on the end of the cross. We needed something like that, but we were always in the game and always a threat.”

Both teams went into the match after disappointing defeats in the Premier League and Champions League respectively, and Hughton highlighted the positive reaction given from his players in the FA Cup.

“I wanted to see a response from the team, because we were poor against Everton, especially considering the run we’ve been on - but we did that today.

“We knew how difficult it would be to get a result here, but after the disappointment of tonight, what will be more important for us is to take our recent form into our next games, which are huge games for us.”

Around 5,000 Albion supporters made the long trip to Old Trafford for the Saturday evening kick-off, and Hughton showed his respect for the club’s vocal, travelling contingent.

“It’s a long way to come and they had a fairly rowdy United group below them, which made it difficult for them - but I thought they were excellent.

“They’ve been excellent all season, but to travel up on a cold night like this, in the thousands that there were, I really respect what they’ve done for us and we’ll need that until the end of the season.”

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