Brighton boss Chris Hughton refuses to blame hapless David Stockdale for Norwich City defeat
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton admitted Brighton's sluggish 2-0 Championship loss at Norwich City could have been a promotion hangover.
The Seagulls needed a win to seal the title after confirming their Premier League status on Easter Monday but the ex-City boss conceded Brighton were second best at Carrow Road.
The luckless David Stockdale diverted two Alex Pritchard strikes over his own line, after the ball had cannoned back into play via the woodwork, in a bizarre first half.
Hughton was adamant he did not see that lacklustre offering coming, despite lengthy celebrations on the south-coast.
'Before the game and on Thursday what I felt from the team was they were highly motivated and things had calmed down from winning promotion on Monday,' he said. 'It has been a very emotional week for everybody around the club but you hope that we have settled down. That was all the talk before the game. How much the overall performance is down to the emotions or just an off day I simply can't answer. We have had days like this before. If the goals don't go in, then we are still in the game and at times we have been able to turn the performance around. When you are 2-0 down at Carrow Road it is very difficult. We certainly were not at our levels.'
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Hughton refused to blame Stockdale.
'No blame is attached to David. It has happened lots of times before to goalkeepers, maybe not twice in a game, but no blame apportioned to him and I would expect him to take it for what it is,' he said. 'I feel a bit for David. We can't allow that quality of player to have a shot without a challenge. Whether it is a Pritchard, Naismith or a Hoolahan they have good players and if you allow them an opportunity to strike at goal then that is more where the frustration lies.
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'Over the 90 minutes Norwich were better than us, they used the ball better than us but it is certainly strange to lose a game when Norwich effectively didn't have a shot on target. Very unusual. I have not seen that before.'