Brighton boss Hughton encouraged by West Brom victory over Manchester United
The Seagulls have struggled against the Premier League’s top six clubs.
Chris Hughton believes Brighton can take encouragement from West Brom’s shock win at Old Trafford as they prepare for a daunting end to the Premier League season.
Albion’s top-flight survival is by no means certain as they currently sit 13th, seven points above the drop zone with a testing five games of the season remaining.
Four of those fixtures will be played against the division’s top four teams, starting at home to Tottenham on Tuesday night.
Hughton’s Seagulls have taken just three points from a possible 24 against the top six clubs so far but he feels the rock bottom Baggies’ 1-0 success against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Sunday, which saw Manchester City crowned champions, gives them hope of achieving similar surprise results.
“It won’t be something that I mention to the players but the players are very conscious of all results that go on,” Hughton said of West Brom’s victory.
“And any time a lesser team beats one of the top teams, I think it’s encouragement for the likes of ourselves.
“Even if it doesn’t lead to a win, which is of course the result that you want, it means that you can at times compete.
“We haven’t been dramatically too far away from some of the other (top-six teams) as regards the level of competition in the game.
“The next bit is getting that win that you want.”
A five-game unbeaten run between late January and early March propelled Brighton up the table in their efforts to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
However, a subsequent four-match winless streak means they remain in danger of the drop, particularly given their unenviable run of fixtures.
After Spurs’ midweek visit to the Amex Stadium and a trip to seventh-placed Burnley, Albion host Manchester United before travelling to Pep Guardiola’s title-winning City team and Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool.
Hughton has urged his players to relish the challenge and avoid any negativity.
“This club have tried hard and waited a long time to get in this division and playing against the quality of what we’re going to play against in these last group of games very much comes with the territory,” he added.
“I don’t think you can afford to go into any game with a defeatist attitude.
“We need to make sure that we have a group of players who look forward to playing in every game.
“The run-in is challenging but that’s something that we knew.”
While Brighton are nervously looking down at the teams below them, fourth-placed Tottenham still have a realistic chance of finishing second in their pursuit of Champions League qualification.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men also have Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United to look forward to as they bid to end a 10-year wait for silverware.
Hughton does not think the weekend cup clash at Wembley will adversely affect Spurs when they play his team.
“They have players that can play in all of the games. So, no, I don’t think it will be a distraction,” Hughton added.
“I think they will focus very much on tomorrow night and the cup game once tomorrow’s out of the way.”
Brighton have no new selection concerns but remain without suspended midfielder Davy Propper.