Belfast Telegraph

Brighton boss Hughton concerned by manner of defeat to Watford

Roberto Pereyra scored twice to get the hosts off to a winning start to the season.

Chris Hughton had no excuses for Brighton’s poor start to the season as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Watford.

The Seagulls did not have a single shot on target as two goals from Roberto Pereyra got the hosts off to a flyer.

Hughton spent around £60million on 10 signings this summer yet only one, Brazilian full-back Bernardo, started at Vicarage Road.

Seagulls boss Hughton said: “I have no complaints with the result. I thought we lost to the better side in most departments.

“It’s a concern. We can’t have any complaints about new players settling in because, apart from Bernardo, it was last season’s team.

“There are no excuses, the players who played today know the system well.”

This could well prove to be an even more damaging defeat come the end of September, with four of Brighton’s next six games against last season’s top four.

“We knew that before today,” added Hughton. “We don’t go into any game thinking we have to work less hard to get a result, but this was our first opportunity, especially away from home, to win a game and we didn’t.”

Pereyra was the undoubted star of the show, even though Brighton’s defending let them down badly.

Having sold Richarlison to Everton over the summer, Watford will need to lean of the Argentinian even more and he certainly began the season in style.

Pereyra was unmarked just inside the area when he met a Jose Holebas corner with a sweet volley 10 minutes before half-time.

It was a fabulous strike and, although Seagulls goalkeeper Mat Ryan got a hand to the ball, he was beaten by the pace and power as it flew into the net.

In the 54th minute Pereyra struck again, receiving the ball from Holebas and stealing in behind an increasingly baffled Bernardo.

Pereyra still had plenty to do as he drove into the area and, with the angle narrowing, he curled a superb strike past Ryan to double the lead.

Hornets boss Javi Gracia said: “He doesn’t surprise me, I know he’s able to do it. He’s a high quality player and a very important one.

“We needed to reorganise after Richarlison went to Everton and we tried to look for solutions with the players we have.

“To start winning is very important but the way we did it was more important. We played really well with and without the ball, and playing really as a team. I’m happy for the players.”

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