Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton felt his side's first-half display was not up to standard and ultimately proved costly as the Seagulls were beaten 1-0 by Rotherham at the New York Stadium today.
Matt Derbyshire's eighth-minute strike was enough to give the Millers all three points and boost their own hopes of avoiding relegation, but Hughton was left extremely disappointed by his side's performance in the opening 45 minutes.
He told seagulls.co.uk, "We certainly gave it a good go in that second half period and we threatened a lot. The difficulty we have at the moment is that we're struggling to score goals and if you're struggling to score goals you have to start the game better than we did.
"We gave away a really poor goal and we knew they're a team that were going to be desperate to get the points, so were going to press and make it more difficult for us. We needed to be better in that first-half period.
"In the second half, we could not have done any more tactically to turn it around, as we ended up with almost four forward players on the pitch.
"We threatened and didn't get the good opportunities perhaps. Beram's [Kayal chance] was perhaps our best, but we need to start better in games and we've got to be more productive in that final third, otherwise we'll continue to put more pressure on ourselves."
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Hughton praised the individual performance from full-debutant Mustapha Carayol for his attacking endeavour and brought on Leon Best to add fresh impetus to Albion's attack. But the Albion boss felt his team should have done more collectively to take advantage of their positions on the pitch.
"We needed a different type of player upfront, we felt by bringing him [Best] on at half time it might give us more of a pivot point, someone that's a bit fresher.
"I felt we could do something in the wide areas as well. Carayol was good at times and showed pace to get beyond the defender and into good crossing positions. I thought we could benefit from that, but in the end I can't say we deserved to get anything out of the game, because our first half performance wasn't good enough."
The defeat leaves Albion nine points above the drop zone and Hughton was left frustrated that the Seagulls failed to create an even healthier gap between themselves and the bottom three.
"I'm annoyed because this was a real opportunity to increase that gap and what we don't want to do is keep looking behind us. We don't want to be thinking about the other teams below us.
"Thankfully for us it worked in our favour today, but that is not always going to happen. We've got five more games left and we want to try and finish this season in the best way we can.
"I have been delighted with the effort that the players have given me so far. Today was a bit of backward step because it wasn't good enough, but they know that and it's our responsibility and the team's responsibility to be better in what will be a very tough game on Friday night."