It Could've Been All Three But We're Showing We're Learning
Manager Chris Hughton has admitted he felt Brighton could've taken more than a point from Stoke City at the weekend, but the performance shows we are learning to compete in the Premier League.
Heading to the Bet365 Stadium for our latest Premier League action, Jose Izquierdo gave Brighton the lead just after the half hour mark but Xherdan Shaqiri had them back on level terms with just over 20 minutes remaining in the game.
Although the hosts had the better possession, we made more of the chances we fashioned but couldn't get that second strike on the day, leaving a disappointed Hughton telling the Official Site that he felt we had been worthy of more from the game, but the positives he could take show we are improving.
'At this moment, it feels like two points dropped. We were up against a good Stoke side who are in good form, and they play on the front foot, but I thought we had the better chances in the game. We threatened and got into some good areas. In Xherdan Shaqiri, they`ve got a quality player that can get that type of delivery in and his quality showed on the goal. Unless you`re one of the big boys, it`s impossible to come here and dominate a game for 90 minutes. We knew we`d have spells in that second half where we`d be under pressure, but we dealt with most things really well and restricted them to minimal clear chances. In the end, we had to save a penalty - which I felt was certainly not a penalty. We feel a little bit hard done by - but I`m hoping that come the end of the season, we can look at this as a good point.'
With Dale Stephens penalised for a foul on Jese Rodriguez, Hughton continued to give his thoughts on what he felt was a very soft award from the referee.
'It`s incredibly soft - there`s two players holding each other and the lad goes down very easily. It was the type of holding that you see in the box all the time. If anything, Dale`s just tried to push him off. It was very harsh, particularly when you`ve got two players grappling and the lad himself is holding Dale.'
'If there`s a reason why you should have players following penalties up, then Lewis Dunk showed exactly that reason why. That set the tone for when we came in, because we felt very hard done by with the penalty. The fact we saved it and stopped the rebound almost feels like a bit of justice.'
With Izquierdo getting his second goal in as many games, the gaffer added.
'As each week and game goes by, he`s adapting really well to this game and we know he can score a goal. He had a very good goalscoring record in Belgium for somebody that plays in the wide positions. It`s not just about scoring goals, it`s about playing for a side that you know are going to be under pressure, particularly away from home. He`s working really well for the team.'
Speaking more generally about the sides' progress so far this season in the top flight, our unbeaten run stretches to four games now and having shown we belong in the top flight with our performances from day one, Hughton feels we're now showing more intelligence in games to ensure we come out with at least a point.
'I think we have felt at home all season. Every game is a difficult - I can`t think of an easy game that we`ve had, even the ones that we`ve won. It`s just the levels. We`ve had two bigger defeats, which are Liverpool and Chelsea, and in neither of those two were we embarrassed in the game. We`ve felt comfortable in it, but you don`t want to feel too comfortable, because it`s going to be a very tough end to the season for a lot of teams.'
Again, he felt with more composure against Stoke when chances did come our way, it would've been another victory for us.
'There`s a bit of frustration because we got into some really good areas. Davy Propper probably got into more forward areas than he has done for a while. The chance at the end that he had, he probably could have shown a little bit more composure. We were up against a changed side that are playing in a different way. It`s a difficult place to come, particularly with the way they`re playing. We were under pressure in that second half at times, but I felt we coped with it very well. They had the header off the line, but I can`t think of too many clear-cut chances that they created. I`m frustrated that we didn`t come away with all three, as the away team.'