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Club News

FIVE THINGS: WATFORD

24 December 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Albion's players in action against Watford.

Heart of Goldson
Connor Goldson made his first league start for Albion in 11 months, but reassumed his spot like he never left. After undergoing heart surgery and being ruled out for the end of the promotion campaign, he filled in for Shane Duffy with aplomb. He was voted man of the match and said, "It [the reception] was brilliant. At the end of the game I did get a little bit emotional inside - I might not have shown it, but it did mean a lot. I got a great reception in the changing room when I came back and we've got a great team spirit. We don't just say that - we've got an unbelievable team spirit."

Worth a shot
Chris Hughton felt the only downside to the win was that Albion couldn’t double their lead, but was gleeful at Pascal Gross’s second-half drive. Hughton said, "We had a little bit of fortune with the Gross goal, but we're always telling Pascal - because he strikes a hard ball with both feet - to get more shots in on target. Because if you don't take those opportunities, you've got no chance of scoring."

Quick out the blocks
It was noticeable from early on that the Seagulls were determined to end their rough patch, as expansive play down the wings and plucky challenges for first and second balls were staples of a strong start. Even Watford manager Marco Silva conceded his side was outplayed in the opening 45 minutes. He said, "We didn’t start well. Brighton started differently from us – they were a little bit faster and in the first moments of the game we had problems defending deep. So we had to react fast. After 20-25 minutes the game was a little bit more balanced, but we didn’t create a lot of chances."

Worth the wait
There were a few statistics causing a bad smell, before Albion squashed them with victory on Saturday afternoon. They hadn’t won in seven, had only scored once in the previous six and hadn’t taken the lead at home since 15th October, in a 1-1 draw with Everton. This win alleviated a lot of the pressure, although Hughton explained that confidence was always high He said, "Morale has never been low here. I have a group of players that know it's going to be a difficult season. There are going to be tough challenges and difficult periods and apart from the Liverpool game, we've been in every game with a chance.”

Early Christmas gift
The Watford game started a period of four games in 10 days, as the players are worked hard over the Christmas period. For most of the 30,000 crowd – who were in great voice – this was the Christmas gift they wanted more than anything else. Next up is Chelsea on Boxing Day, before games against Newcastle and Bournemouth. With the halfway mark up, Albion are sitting pretty, five points away from the relegation zone. Merry Christmas.


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