Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton admitted Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City is the most difficult result to accept from his team’s opening 12 matches in the Premier League this season.
Two controversial decisions saw Dale Stephens receive a red card and Sol Bamba fire a late winner for the Bluebirds, and Hughton believes the cruel defeat felt worse after his side’s recent run of matches.
He said, “This is the hardest one to take. The three games we won could have gone either way, but we were good enough in those games.
“Last game at Everton, we hold our hands up, we didn’t deserve anything from that game.
“I know it’s a different type of performance, but we didn’t deserve to lose [against Cardiff]. This is the hardest one for those simple reasons.”
Stephens was sent off for a challenge on Greg Cunningham in 34th minute, and despite the hosts’ aggrieved reaction to the midfielder’s tackle, Hughton played down the effect that had on the referee’s decision.
“The opposition players are going to be jumping up in the air. I didn’t look at their bench, but possibly they did too.
“But we would probably be no different, so all of that I understand. I’m not proportioning the blame on anybody — I think that’s normal.
“The referee has to make a decision and he was in a very good position. The more I see it, I think it’s harsh.
“But if we have a rule that if somebody shows their studs, then they have to send everybody off on every occasion.”
With Stephens’s dismissal in mind, Hughton gave an update on the likelihood of Davy Propper and Pascal Gross returning to the side for Leicester City’s visit to the Amex Stadium later this month.
“Davy has been out for a short period of time and Pascal has been out for longer. We’ll have to make decisions over this next two weeks.
“They’ll both be training on Monday and certainly with the games we’ve got coming up, in Dale’s position, that’s a plus.”