Chris Hughton putting a brave face on it with comments after Brighton 1 Newcastle 1
Chris Hughton was a relieved man after this game.
The second-half equaliser from Gross, ensuring that now Cardiff have to win both of their final two games to have any chance of staying up.
The former Newcastle boss watched on as surely this was Brighton’s worst ever 45 minutes under him.
Newcastle went in 1-0 up but it could and should have been over by half-time.
Brighton stood off and let Newcastle do whatever they wanted with their approach play, Rafa’s players seemingly thinking it was only a matter of time before they added a few more to Perez’ opener.
Mike Dean played his part by failing to give two obvious penalties to Newcastle in that first half, little doubt they would have been given if in Newcastle’s 18 yard box.
Chris Hughton praised his side for their improvement after the break but in reality, it was more Newcastle sitting back and sinking into a negative mindset. Matters not exactly helped when Rondon ended up having to rely on the likes of Atsu, Kenedy and Muto as his main support, all three of them showing they are nowhere near good enough.
As for Chris Hughton and Brighton, they might be staying up this time but they’ll be lucky to find three teams worse than them next season, unless they undergo massive changes.
Whilst for Newcastle, it was simply confirmation that once you start relying on the squad, there is next to no strength in depth in the attacking half of the pitch.
Chris Hughton talking to the official Brighton site:
“That performance probably sums up how we’ve been, a little bit fragile at both ends.
“Not looking like scoring or creating too much and a little bit vulnerable.
“But what I can say, is the reaction from the team in the second half is what you want to see — a team that knew we were up against it and needed to get something from the game.
“We played a 4-4-2, which we haven’t played too often, and we had to change that because it wasn’t working as well as I would have liked — we weren’t able to get the press on the ball.
“Newcastle are a good team in good form, and if you afford them too much space, they can hurt you.
“They hurt us with the goal and were far better than us in the first half.
“But it was a good second-half performance and they showed lots of spirit.
“When Glenn [Murray] had the opportunity towards the end, I thought we had done it.
“It’s about energy — we certainly showed more energy in the second half.
“The shape gave us that extra player in the middle of the park, which gives you that little bit more possession.
“You’re after individuals to step up, Solly was very good when he came on, Bernardo on the left flank got high and wide — you get a feel and a momentum in the game.
“When the momentum is changing, anything is possible. What you need in that period of time is a goal to get us back in the game, and I thought we deserved it.
“We’re hoping that the goal has made a big difference, but you can’t afford to think that way.
“Cardiff are a very spirited team, they showed that here, and they are fighting. They are capable of winning their next two games.
“We have to go to Arsenal not thinking that we can’t get something, but thinking we might have to get something and how we can do that.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Brighton 1 Newcastle 1
Possession was Brighton 49% Newcastle 51%
Total shots were Brighton 9 Newcastle 9
Shots on target were Brighton 2 Newcastle 1
Corners were Brighton 7 Newcastle 4
Referee: Mike Dean
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey (Ki 73), Atsu (Muto 81), Perez (Kenedy 33), Rondon
Darlow, Yedlin, Barreca, Diame
Crowd: 30,587 (2,500 Newcastle)
(You can read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game HERE)
(3 positives and 3 negatives from the Brighton game HERE)
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