Chris Hughton has lamented his Brighton team for not spotting the 'warning signs' during the first half of their eventual 2-0 defeat to Everton.
The Seagulls defended manfully until the hour mark before Gaetan Bong's own goal broke their resistance, and the visitors were inflicted with further harm when Cenk Tosun bagged a vital second for the hosts.
Things could have been worse for Brighton after Anthony Knockaert's dismissal but Wayne Rooney's penalty was excellently saved, and it proved to be the only positive on an afternoon that Hughton told his club's official site he was ready to forget immediately.
He said: “The warning signs were there and we didn’t adapt to them well enough. I didn’t think we were great in the first half, but we stuck in there and restricted them to minimal chances.
“We had a good chance at half-time to clear the air and realise how we needed to improve in the second half - we did improve slightly but not significantly enough to go and win the game.
“If we play at a level like that, we’ll find it really difficult to win Premier League games. We know what the levels are and we’ve reached those levels in this good run that we’ve been on.
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“But we were well below that today - we knew the attacking threats they have and certainly the best team won.”
Knockaert was straight off for a two-footed lunge on Leighton Baines, and his tackle produced an angry response from the returning full-back and Toffees defender Seamus Coleman after Baines' three month lay off with a calf strain.
I’m still shocked at that Knockaert tackle on Baines! If any of you are watching MOTD tonight just watch this game he could have snapped his leg in 1/2! Luckily baines saw it coming!— Lee Maggs (@leemaggs1) March 10, 2018
Hughton didn't feel it necessary to defend his hot-headed attacker, however, and admitted that the ex-Manchester United starlet deserved to be sent for an early bath.
He added: “I have no problems with that, it was a red card. It’s a team game and it will now see him miss three matches. We’re the ones that won’t benefit from that and he certainly won't.”