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HUGHTON HAILS A HARD-FOUGHT VICTORY

7 April 2017

The Albion manager reflected on antoother crucial victory tonight.


Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton was delighted with the hard-fought nature of this evening’s 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers, and praised the club’s supporters for their vocal backing at Loftus Road.

QPR striker Matt Smith pulled a goal back for the Hoops after Glenn Murray and Sebastien Pocognoli opened the scoring, and Hughton was pleased with how his players stood up to the home side’s late pressure.

He said, “I’m pleased with the manner of how we won, as we were under a lot of pressure in that last 20-25 minutes and Matt Smith’s a real handful upfront.

“We rode our luck a little bit, but we had some good opportunities ourselves to break away and perhaps increase the scoreline.

“We had to defend very well, and of course at that stage [2-1], you end up defending very deep. But if they’d of got the equaliser, that would have been a little bit of injustice.

“We were overall the better side today and deserved to win. It was a big game for us, and I thought the supporters were magnificent right the way through.”

Murray broke the deadlock with a composed finish in the second half, before Pocognoli found the back of the net with a sublime free-kick, and Hughton commented on both of Albion’s strikes in West London.

“I couldn’t see the angle well from where I was, and sometimes with that sort of finish [Murray’s goal], when you’re one-v-one, you’re better off being at an angle, but it was reasonably straight.

“It’s a very good finish because he’s one-v-one with the keeper, and probably on more occasions than not, when it’s a fairly straight angle, the keeper gets a touch to it.

“He’s a player that, over the years, has been used to being in positions like that, and that certainly helps. It was one that lifted any kind of anxiety that we had, because QPR were always a threat.

“I thought Anthony [Knockaert] was going to take it, only because Seb [Pocognoli] hasn’t featured as much as the others. On a lot of the work we’ve done with free-kicks, it’s usually been Jiri Skalak or Anthony on them.

“It was a bit of a surprise, but it was a real quality finish, and certainly no blame can be given to the goalkeeper. When it’s that clear in the corner and comes off the crossbar, I don’t think anybody’s saving it.”

Lewis Dunk was replaced by Fikayo Tomori at half-time, and Hughton explained the reasoning behind the defender’s departure at the interval, as he left the field for the second successive game due to sickness.

“It’s a real tough one because you’ve got to rely on the information from the player. When you’ve got a tough lad like Dunky, he wants to play.

“He trained yesterday and he was absolutely fine, no problems. He completed the warm up and said he didn’t feel 100 per cent, but would give it a go.

“So I went with his judgement and I thought he did great in the first half, but by half time he obviously couldn’t continue, and of course Tomori’s come on and done well again.”


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