It's time to give Brighton boss Chris Hughton his due

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 20 August 2018, 08:38

Since full-time at the AMEX on Sunday, Manchester United’s woes have been discussed at length and to an extent, understandably so.

The club and it’s manager, Jose Mourinho, are two of the biggest names in world football; naturally, their performance would be Sky Sports’ main focus.

However, it took them at least half an hour to discuss Brighton’s performance in any detail, they spoke to away fans post-match but none from the home contingent and shoehorned Chris Hughton’s interview into the final 10 minutes of the show.

While Brighton do not expect to be the main story, the way they have been treated has the faint whiff of elitist snobbery.

Here therefore, it is only fair to delve into Brighton’s performance and why it went well for them.

In the 2-0 loss at Watford on day one, the marking was non-existent and going forward, they didn’t register a single shot on target, as Hughton admitted his side were “second best”.

Here, they improved in every possible department. They started with real energy and intent, with Anthony Knockaert looking bright down the right and Solly March, who has been questioned by some Seagulls fans, causing problems on the left.

Surprisingly, their fluency was not disrupted by the early injury to centre-back Lewis Dunk, who has been so important to the side over the last four seasons. Leon Balogun, who looked reasonably impressive for Nigeria in the summer, made it a seamless transition and slotted in nicely alongside Shane Duffy, who was dominant throughout.

By contrast, United’s centre-backs Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof were dominated by Glenn Murray; not through any physical advantage the veteran has, but instead his awareness, movement and expert finishing.

Once Brighton’s two-goal advantage was in place at the break, they managed the game superbly in the second half.

They managed the game, not through sitting in their defensive third and desperately clearing the ball at any opportunity, but through shrewd intelligent play.

The Seagulls effectively began the second period with the same defensive structure with which they finished it, which highlights their impeccable energy levels.

While last week, the team made just 16 tackles, here, they made 28; such was the intensity of performance that the likes of Dale Stephens and Davy Propper produced.

The exciting thing for Brighton fans is that Martin Montoya, who enjoyed a composed Premier League debut at right-back, was the only starting player who wasn’t at the club last season.

Jean-Yves Bissouma will add pace and energy to this midfield when called upon; neither he nor Alireza Jahanbakhsh, an exciting, versatile forward who top scored in the Eredivisie last season, didn’t leave the substitute’s bench.

In Hughton, Brighton have the ideal man to not only keep heads on an even keel, but to also gradually integrate these new players so that the old guard remains to preserve solidity, but tweaks can also be made when the team needs freshening up.

The south coast club look good enough to challenge for a place in the top half this season – for all the criticism of Manchester United, let’s give Hughton’s Brighton the attention their performance merited.

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