Brighton manager Chris Hughton has praised his team's comeback in their 2-2 draw at the Amex against Stoke, and admitted that his side were not at their best on the night.
The Seagulls fought back from a 2-1 deficit to earn a point in a superb match against the Potters, and Hughton declared himself pleased with the character of his side, but admitted that they lacked their usual quality on the night.
“I didn’t think we were at our best today," he said after the game. "We needed to be a side that passed a little bit better. We knew how Stoke were going to play and they’re very good at it. When you come back from two goals at two different stages, you’re probably more fearful that you’re going to lose it, rather than having the joy and excitement of winning it.
“We didn’t probe enough and we were a little bit sloppy at times with our passing, but it would have been really hard on us if we had of ended up losing the game.”
When asked about the penalty incident that occurred late in the first half between Ryan Shawcross and Glenn Murray, Hughton insisted that he knew at the time that it was a penalty.
“My take is exactly what it was at the time - from where I was in the dugout, I had a very good view of it and straight away I thought it was a penalty. I’m really disappointed with that.“There were two officials who could have made a judgement, and if the referee doesn’t see it because of the angle or not being sure, then he has an assistant to make a decision.
How the hell have the ref and linesman not given that? Blatant penalty and probably red card. Awful.— Brighton Are Back (@BrightonAreBack) November 20, 2017
“He obviously didn’t see it well enough to give it, but he had a linesman who probably had a better view. I was 40-50 yards away and my view was perfect - I thought it was certainly a penalty.”
Brighton face a tough set of fixtures before Christmas, with games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs all to come. The Seagulls boss remained realistic about his side's chances against the big teams, and hinted that he may set up to play for a draw.
“We have to be realistic. We’re playing in a different division against better teams and players, and certainly if you’re not able to win games, you have to try not to lose them.
“The supporters saw a lot of exciting football today, a little bit end-to-end - and obviously there were some decisions that got the crowd going. That’s all we can do - we endeavour to entertain them and we try to win as many games here as we can.”
The point earned against Stoke means that Brighton sit in ninth position in the table, something that many fans did not think would happen at the beginning of the season.