Brighton’s maiden Premier League season may have ended with defeat at Liverpool but a reflective Chris Hughton has saluted his side’s achievements.
The Seagulls travelled to Anfield with their top-flight status secured but ended the campaign with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool, who qualified for next season’s Champions League as a result.
“I just spoke to the players and we have to speak about the season as a whole,” Hughton said. “We’ve been in nearly every game and we’ve had some very good performances.
“As the season has gone on, we’ve also had some very good performances against the top six, particularly at home.
“The next stage for us is away from home. The difficulty of playing the top six away from home, where you need to try and stick in there.
“But our season has shown more good than bad. It’s just a shame that we haven’t finished the season in perhaps the way we would have liked to.”
Liverpool needed to avoid defeat to ensure their hopes of playing Champions League football next season did not hinge on the final appearance against Real Madrid on May 26.
That resulted in Brighton playing almost the entire game camped in their half, and the pressure soon told as Mohamed Salah’s record 32nd Premier League goal and strikes from Dejan Lovren, Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson wrapped up the Liverpool victory.
“It was a very hard afternoon for us,” Hughton added. “We knew that we’d have to play at a certain level, as we also knew in midweek [against Manchester City], to get something from the game.
“They needed to be below their best and you have to stay in the game for as long as possible.
“But they caused us so many problems – we dealt with the majority of them, but when it’s relentless, it becomes far more difficult.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his team after his side beat Brighton 4-0 in the Premier League.
“You have to defend ever so well and have periods on the ball. The only disappointment today was that we didn’t keep possession well enough.
“But credit to them, they needed the result and they showed their quality.”