Brighton must repay fans by winning Cardiff six-pointer, says Chris Hughton

Ed Aarons on 14 April 2019

Chris Hughton has insisted Brighton must be proactive in their approach to the crucial match against Cardiff on Tuesday after the club’s heaviest defeat at the Amex Stadium against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The 5-0 defeat, in which Anthony Knockaert was dismissed, has left Brighton within five points of Neil Warnock’s side in the final relegation position as they try to secure their top-flight status for a third successive season. Yet with a run-in that includes fixtures against Tottenham, Arsenal and, on the final day of the season, Manchester City, Hughton admitted they must bounce back quickly from the disappointment of their performance against Bournemouth on Saturday.

“We approach [the game] by trying to win it,” the Brighton manager said. “The best result for us is to make sure we end up being eight points clear rather than a draw or a defeat. So as regards the players, they have no choice – they have to lift themselves up. I will have to pick a team that I think can get a result.

“They are going to fight and scrap and, if any team have been lifted, it might be a Cardiff team lifted by our result at home. They are a team that is fighting and scrapping as well and they are going to come here on Tuesday and give us a very difficult game.”

Knockaert will be suspended for three matches after what his manager described as an “emotional and reckless” challenge on Bournemouth’s Adam Smith. But despite some sections of the home crowd showing their dissatisfaction with the performance on Saturday, Hughton believes they can play a crucial role in helping Brighton secure the required result.

“We have supporters who pay a lot of money to come and watch games and they are entitled to their opinion. When they don’t like what they see, sometimes they vent it,” he said.

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“They are on our side and any way they are venting their anger a little bit is because they haven’t liked what they have seen. And our responsibility is to make sure that we work hard enough that they can see a group of players working harder, and do well enough to make sure that we have a support that we can rely on and they like what they see.”

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