Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton highlighted the quality of Chelsea’s second-half goals at Stamford Bridge and the attitude of his players to fight until the end during their 3-0 defeat in the Premier League.
The Seagulls found themselves 1-0 down at the break after Olivier Giroud’s close-range strike, before Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added goals in the second half to finish the contest.
Hughton admitted his disappointment towards the nature of Chelsea’s opening goal, but accepted the quality his team were up against and praised his players for their application from start to finish.
He said, “For good periods of the match, I thought we were very much in the game. They threatened a lot with the quality they’ve got but that’s exactly what they can do.
“They just need moments where they can turn an opportunity into some brilliance. Certainly the second and third goals were top quality goals.
“I was disappointed with the first one because it’s an area that we generally defend well, but when you’re up against that type of pace out wide, you can’t stop every cross.
“If we were a good enough side to take the game to them, it would be wonderful to be in that position, but we’re not — I know the quality that we’ve got.
“I thought we showed a great attitude today, which we had to do, but sometimes the quality they’ve got and the amount of times they get into [dangerous] areas can wear you down.
“You just hope that you defend well enough in those moments over the 90 minutes, but their quality can always hurt you.”
Chances in front of goal were few and far between for Albion, as Chelsea applied pressure throughout at Stamford Bridge, but Hughton couldn’t fault his team’s effort to remain in the game.
“We needed to show more [going forward]. There were a lot of moments where we broke well, but what the likes of Chelsea and the top six do is work very hard.
“One part of their game is the quality that they show on the ball, but when the opposition have got the ball and breaking, they work hard to press and get back in numbers.
“Anthony Knockaert probably had our best opportunity of the game right near the end — so it certainly wasn’t a case of us giving up, which is important going into the weekend.
“As regards to what the players gave, I don’t think I can fault that, and that was something that I wanted to see.”
Albion remain five points clear of the relegation zone after Cardiff City lost at Manchester City this evening, but Hughton fully understands the challenge his team faces after their Emirates FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a battle — there isn’t any team around us that isn’t fighting hard. We saw Cardiff run a very good Chelsea side close at the weekend.
“At this moment, our thoughts are on the FA Cup tie on Saturday, but very quickly after that it’s about making sure we work hard enough and get the results to stay in this division.”