Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton was pleased to watch his players deliver a more recognisable performance against Arsenal, as the Seagulls came from behind to claim their first Premier League point against a top-six side away from home.
Glenn Murray levelled from the penalty spot to cancel out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s ninth-minute effort for the Gunners, and Hughton felt his team carried across momentum from their second-half performance against Newcastle United last weekend.
He said, “I’m delighted with the performance — we were on the back of an albeit defensive performance at Wolves and a good 88 minutes at Tottenham, against similar quality to what they’ve got here.
“We wanted a reaction — in our last game we were very poor against Newcastle in the first half, but very good in the second half, and we were able to continue that today.
“The performance was certainly more like us. Even though we’ve dug out a couple of decent performances and results away from home, most people would have thought they’d get a second and third goal.
“It was tough going behind so early on, but credit to the lads for adjusting well. We had to dig deep, and I thought we thoroughly deserved the result.”
Albion had chances to secure maximum points in the second half, with Pascal Gross and Solly March both going close, and Hughton reflected on his team’s forward pressure, before giving his assessment on Arsenal’s penalty decision.
“We knew there was space because of the way they played — they played a diamond in midfield and we felt we could get the ball into wide areas.
“I thought we were a threat, but probably weren't productive enough. We got into some really good areas, particularly in the first half, but we just needed better quality to get an end product.
“My first impression [of Arsenal’s penalty] was that it was soft, but sometimes you see it at the end of the game and see it was a penalty. I’ve seen it on two or three occasions since and it’s absolutely not a penalty.”
Despite claiming a point at the Emirates, Albion’s Premier League status had already been secured after Cardiff City’s defeat on Saturday, and Hughton commented on his team’s recent battle to avoid the drop.
“We mustn't lose sight of the fact that for a big chunk of the season we’ve been in a decent position.
“We’ve never been in the bottom three and most people wouldn't have seen us getting dragged into a relegation battle like we did.
“In a season like this, you probably learn more from the more difficult periods than perhaps earlier in the season when we were doing well. We’ll need to take that into next season.”