Wednesday 20 February 2019

Brighton remain positive when playing at Premier League’s elite, insists Hughton

Albion have never won away against the Premier League’s top six clubs.

Chris Hughton is preparing to face Manchester United (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Chris Hughton is preparing to face Manchester United (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Chris Hughton insists Brighton retain a positive approach to away matches against the Premier League’s top clubs in spite of their dreadful record.

Albion have lost on each of their eight trips to the division’s top six teams since promotion in 2017, conceding 16 times and scoring just once.

The Seagulls will attempt to break that poor run at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resurgent Manchester United side on Saturday.

Ahead of the visit to Old Trafford, manager Hughton says he has never instructed his players to settle for a draw when travelling to superior opponents.

“With us, in everything we’ve said going away to the big teams we’ve always been very positive,” said Hughton.

“We’ve never gone to a (Manchester) City or Liverpool and said ‘we are going to play this way and let’s try to get a draw’.

“We’ve always spoken about how we can win the game.

“It just so happens that to win a game at a top-six team, defensively you have to play well.

“There is never any problem with the mindset, it’s just the difficulty of the task.”

While they have had little to cheer on the road against the top six, results at home have been considerably better.

They have twice beaten United teams managed by Jose Mourinho at the Amex Stadium, as well as taking four points from a possible six against Arsenal, and holding Tottenham to a draw last season.

“Points away from home are going to be more difficult, particularly when you go to the likes of Old Trafford,” added Hughton.

“Certainly we’ll need that bit of luck and fortune, things to go your way but ultimately you have to play well enough.

“You know as a team you will have to defend well and will have to have a good structure and play well on the ball and give yourself chances to win the game.”

Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma, who missed last weekend’s defeat to leaders Liverpool, faces a late fitness test on a hip problem.

Left-back Bernardo (hamstring) and winger Jose Izquierdo (knee) remain sidelined, while Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan and Iran winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh are still on international duty at the Asian Cup.

Brighton confirmed on Friday afternoon defender Markus Suttner had joined Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan until the end of the season.

The 31-year-old Austrian made 18 appearances in all competitions for the Seagulls since joining from fellow German side Ingolstadt.

Hughton said: “Markus has been a great pro since he joined us two summers ago, but he hasn’t been able to play the number of games he would have liked, due to the strong competition we have in the left-back position.

“This move will allow him to play regular football in the top division of the Bundesliga. I would like to wish him all the very best for the remainder of the season.”

Press Association

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