Albion boss Chris Hughton says the defeat to Middlesbrough this afternoon needs to be a springboard for his side to go again.
Brighton’s 21-game unbeaten start to the Championship season was brought to an end with a 3-0 defeat to Boro and Hughton said: “We’ve been on such a good run but we caught Middlesbrough at the end of a week where we we’ve had two tough away games and we’ve been unable to manouver the team - certainly as much as what Middlesbrough have been able to do.
“They probably showed today why they are what they are - a team that everybody fancied last season and just missed out on promotion. They invested very well in the summer and have come back strong again. They showed that in the important areas of the pitch at both ends.
“Goals can change a game, they score early and it gives them the lift. We had a good spell in the second half where we put them under pressure but they defended very well.
“We’ve got to get back to the levels we’ve shown this season and in whichever way that is. There’s different ways to win a football match and we’ve got to get back to that again.
“The response from the supporters at the end was excellent. They knew it had been a tough day for us and they knew that, generally, what they’ve seen this season they’ve liked. This has to be a springboard now to go again and we need to wrap up a few as Uwe (Hunemeier) has come off inujured as well, so we’ve certainly got a few on the injury list.”
On the unbeaten run ending, Hughton said: “We’ve enjoyed it and I don’t necessarily feel that it was a real pressure of it being there but we’ll have to wait and see.
“We’ve not been in this position. Everything that the players have given us this season has been as much about being motivated, as they are, and staying in the top group of teams, as they are. It just so happens we came unstuck but we’ll dust everyone down and make sure that we can go again.”
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka said: “I felt from the beginning of the game that we were fitter than them and rested more than them.
“This is the Championship, when you have the games that we’ve had this week and the games they’ve had this week, I could change a few players on Tuesday but they played three games with the same team except Dunk today.
“When the pitch is heavy and with three really demanding games, I said at the beginning we were fitter than them and when we score the early goal, it’s always difficult to score a goal against us when we score first.”
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was at the match and Hughton said spoke to him after the game: “Jose came in to see me afterwards, which was very nice of him. I would imagine, predominantly, he was at the game due to his association with the Middlesbrough manager but he did come in to see us afterwards.
“He wished us all the best, he spoke about the run that we’d been on. He knows the Championship very well and I just wished him all the best and look forward to seeing him back in the game very soon.”
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