Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton admitted the timing of Manchester City’s opening goals were crucial in his team’s 4-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium, as Pep Guardiola’s side showed their quality to pip Liverpool to the Premier League title.
Glenn Murray headed the Seagulls into a shock 1-0 lead on the south coast, but the visitors replied instantly before adding further goals to secure their 14th consecutive top-flight victory.
Hughton said, “What we certainly needed to do was keep that lead for longer than we did. I thought it was a little bit fortunate with the way the ball ran for them, but at 1-0 and 1-1 you need to stay in the game for longer.
“You know it’s going to be an onslaught, but if you can keep that scoreline until half-time, they’re going to make changes and open up.
“But with the quality they’ve got, it becomes hard work. When they have that level of quality in the team, they find the moments that can really hurt you.
“For a good period of the game, we were able to give them a good game and that’s what I wanted, but the fact their equaliser was so quick after our goal, that really hurt us.”
The Albion boss then reflected on his team’s second season in the Premier League, before assessing the areas in which improvement can be made ahead of another top-flight campaign.
“It means everything [staying in the Premier League]. At the start of the season we would have settled for staying in the division and getting to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
“We’ve had a difficult last period — we picked ourselves up towards the end, but certainly for the bulk of the season we were in a decent position, but maybe not playing as well as we would have liked.
“As a manager and a coach, you always want more. I would tend to view where we could have done better, and maybe we can be a little disappointed with where we’ve finished.
“The summer will be a big summer for us, as is every summer. We’ll analyse what we can do better. One obvious area is goals, that’s the area where we know we’ve fallen short.”
Club captain Bruno made his final appearance for the Seagulls, after announcing his retirement from the game, and Hughton finished with some kind words about the much-adored Spaniard.
“I’ve been in the game a long time and worked with some great captains — the first one I worked with as a player was Steve Perryman, who was probably as good a captain as I’ll ever meet.
“But I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bruno for the last four years, he’s a different type of personality, he’s hugely respected in the dressing room for how he conducts himself.
“He’s been that wonderful go-between between me and the players. He’s helped me a lot in my time here and the send-off for him was thoroughly deserved.”