Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton highlighted his team’s gritty performance that almost claimed a point against Tottenham Hotspur this evening, and urged his players to take the same level of commitment into Newcastle United’s visit on Saturday.
The Seagulls were just minutes away from securing a share of the spoils after frustrating Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Christian Eriksen’s 88th-minute goal broke Albion’s resolve.
Hughton said, “We knew how difficult it would be, but I can’t fault their effort and what they tried to do. Spurs had huge possession and got into some really good areas to produce, but I thought we defended really well.
“They’re not going to go through 90 minutes without having chances, but certainly in regards to the amount of clear-cut chances, I thought they were minimal.
“From our point of view, perhaps if we made a few better choices on the ball and managed the game a little bit better in the last period, then I think we come away with a result.
“To come here and put in a performance, albeit a gritty, defensive performance, it speaks volumes. We know we have to take that into Saturday’s game, which now becomes our biggest game.”
Eriksen’s goal came after relentless pressure from the hosts in the second half, and Hughton had no complaints about his team’s endeavour to contain one of the best teams in Europe.
“The players will know how hard they’ve worked to get as close as we did. We were up against a team that are in the Champions League semi-final.
“It’s hard to get up the pitch against them because it’s waves and waves of quality players. When they can stretch you like they can, you need to hold onto the ball better than we did.
“I thought we were able to stretch them earlier in the game, we had a good chance, and perhaps if the ball is a little bit different from Alireza [Jahanbakhsh], we have something on the end of it.
“But of course as the game goes on, they make changes, they push more and it becomes harder. But I genuinely felt we were going to hold on.”
Albion will now turn their attention to Newcastle’s visit to the Amex Stadium on Saturday, before matches against Arsenal and Manchester City, and Hughton assessed the challenges that lie ahead.
“They’re all big games at this stage of the season. We never go into any game thinking we’re going to lose, and it was exactly the same today.
“There’s a game plan and you have to stick to the game plan. You hope that the opposition don’t play as well as they can, you hope we get a bit of luck, and then anything can happen.
“Whether it’s Arsenal away or Manchester City at home, the thinking going into those games has to be exactly the same.
“We’ll be up against a Newcastle team that have been good away from home and have a system they use very well. We’ll need goals and what’s we’ll need to do is win the game in whichever way possible.”