Brighton & Hove manager Chris Hughton has claimed that his side were denied two valid calls for penalties in their 4-0 loss to Premier League champions Chelsea. Despite romping to an assured victory, the Blues were fortunate not to be penalised by the referee, especially when goalkeeper Willy Caballero bundled Ezequiel Schelotto over in the box during the first half.
Speaking in the wake of the humbling loss, via Sky Sports, Hughton expressed his frustration with the decisions that he felt went against his side, citing them as pivotal moments that dashed all hopes of his side's getting a good result. The former Newcastle United boss said:
"For me, we should have had two penalties.
FT: @ChelseaFC show their class in front of goal, to defeat Albion at the Amex. Hazard scores twice, with Willian and Moses also finding the back of the net. The Seagulls hit the woodwork through Propper, but were unable to find a breakthrough. #BHAFC 0 #CFC 4 #BHACHE pic.twitter.com/ElCnSdkf2u— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) January 20, 2018
"The first one I thought was (a penalty) at the time, but the second one I wasn't sure and on any refereeing decision when the goalkeeper comes out there's every chance a decision will need to be made."
"What you have to do is get yourself into a position where you can see it. If the referee said he hasn't seen it then it's not one, but there's always going to be a chance that there was a decision to be made. You need things to go your way and we've had two that haven't. We had two appeals that need to go for you when you're playing against Chelsea with the quality they have."
Hughton also claimed that the scoreline wasn't reflective of gameplay, contending that his side were unfortunate to be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat. Hughton said:
"We didn't do ourselves any favours going two-nil down early in the game. They are then in the ascendancy - the fear is that it could become three or four. In full flow, they are super team. Three of the goals we could have done better - these are areas we know about. The quality they have and it was unlike us as we've been good at not conceding from open play."
"We found it hard but we battled in there. We did show great resilience. We gave them a game in a period of the second half. It wasn't a true reflection of the game - I thought we had some good periods."
The defeat saw the Seagulls fall to 16th in the table, just two points off the dreaded relegation zone. While Hughton's side have impressed since their promotion to the top tier, the fact that they haven't picked up a single point against the top six shows a worrying gulf in class between the south coast side and the Premier League big hitters.
Brighton return to action next weekend when they face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round.