Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton was delighted with his team’s final test before next week’s Premier League opener, as the Seagulls narrowly lost 3-2 to Atletico de Madrid at the Amex.
Lucas Hernandez struck in the 88th minute to snatch victory for the La Liga side, but Hughton was pleased with how his players performed in Albion’s final pre-season game, as Pascal Gross and Steve Sidwell found the back of the net.
“I’m really pleased that Atletico Madrid agreed to come and I’d like to think that they got some good value from being here as well.
“Overall, I was happy with what I saw from us. But what Atletico showed was the quality that they’ve got on the ball, right throughout the pitch.
“They’re not only a top team in Europe, but a top team in the world. We experienced a lot today and had to defend very well. I’m really delighted to get the two goals as well.”
Despite being unable to hold Nicolas Gaitan’s long-range strike in the first half, Hughton praised the performance of Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, as he made a string of fine saves on his Amex debut.
“He would be the one in the whole stadium that feels it the most. He’d made two good saves before that, and overall, if you took that out of the game, he’s had a very good game.
“But that’s what goalkeepers do, they are the last line and even the top goalkeepers will make mistakes. It’s not about the mistakes they make, but how they react from it.”
The Seagulls return to the Amex next Saturday when Manchester City visit for the opening game of the season, and Hughton is now focused on getting ready for the club’s first-ever Premier League fixture.
“All the preparation will be for what is a massive game for us, and it’s a massive game because it’s out first game in the Premier League.
“We’re against opposition that have had a very good pre-season and have continued to bring in top-quality players.
“It’s the normal emotions going into a season; the biggest emotion is really looking forward to it and the excitement. It’s normal to get those emotions as we’re going into a very tough league.
“In these types of leagues, on given occasions if you don't get it right, you can get beaten big. You’re up against top, top quality, but the overall feeling is very much one of excitement.”