Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton hailed a hard-earned win over Nottingham Forest tonight and felt his side delivered a tactically astute performance.
Kazenga LuaLua’s 50th-minute strike was enough to ensure Albion got the season off to a winning start and Hughton praised the way his players handled Forest’s attacking threat.
He said, “It was a tough game, but we knew it would be and if you looked at the half-time score, I thought that we edged it as regards to getting the ball in the box, but they had a couple of decent efforts themselves.
“We knew that it was going to be about nullifying the effective threat that they have got. They had that threat in their two wide players in particular. But we also had to play ourselves, and for the majority of the game, we got that balance right.
“We had to be resolute and what we did for most of the pre-season is to go in a form of two upfront and that is an area which we can still develop more.
"It won’t be on every occasion, but it has given us a little more emphasis in that final third. We need to be scoring more goals this season than last and hopefully that will go some way towards that.”
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Hughton praised the performances of debutants Gaetan Bong and Tomer Hemed and he believes the Israeli international was unfortunate not to open his Seagulls account.
“I thought that both debutantes were excellent and they put in a real shift for the team. It was a tough evening for Bong against power and pace; whether that was [Michail] Antonio or [Jamie] Ward, but Gaetan is a good athlete and he is a strong individual. He will be a good asset for us.
“With Tomer, I thought that we saw the type of player that he is. He is a good all-round player and he was very unlucky with the opportunity that he had, which was a great save from their keeper.”
The Seagulls supremo was also full of admiration for LuaLua’s winning goal, before praising the Albion fans for helping to create a memorable evening at the Amex.
“With any team, if there is a vulnerability in the opposition – for example a player who is on a yellow card – then you try and benefit from that.
"We tried to get as much of the ball to Kazenga as possible, but he was up against a good player in [Eric] Lichaj, who is a strong quick full back. He had his work cut out but I thought that it was a super goal from him.
“The crowd were excellent and I know it means a lot to them. We could potentially have a very busy few weeks, but it is always nice to get off with a win."