Cruising at 2-0, and it could have and should have been more, the Seagulls were blown away in the blizzard at Craven Cottage.
Some credit must go to the hosts who are fighting for their Premier League lives and to their likeable manager Claudio Ranieri who made important tactical changes. They are still not out of the woods but one thing you will always get from the ‘Tinkerman’ is a positive outlook.
On the face of it the Seagulls’ current run looks bleak. One win in nine league games and five points from a possible 27. However, during that period Chris Hughton’s team have faced Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United.
There is no doubt that the pressure is growing on games at the Amex against teams in the bottom half of the table but there are still some encouraging signs and potential for improvement.
The Albion are feeling the absence of Jose Izquierdo and Bernardo but Glenn Murray looks sharp again and Davy Propper looks threatening as he gets forward more.
The lack of clean sheets will be a concern for a manager who prides himself on defensive organisation and team shape but again the defenders don’t become bad players overnight. You must defend as a team.
The limited activity in the January transfer window is one indication that the club is relatively happy with the options available but they will always be looking to improve, albeit mainly in the summer.
Chris Hughton’s side also have a good chance of a decent FA Cup run as they face West Brom in a replay which could set up another tie against a Championship club, Derby County.
After the 4-2 defeat in West London, Murray said goals change games and he’s right. A crucial save from Rico to deny him the ‘perfect hat-trick’ one minute was followed by a goal at the other end.
In the same way a win and a draw at home to Watford and Burnley in the next two fixtures would see the Seagulls reach 30 points well ahead of when they amassed that tally last season.
It’s difficult to assess, explain or rationalise the capitulation in the second half at Craven Cottage but sometimes it is best for the players to move onto the next challenge.
You can use the pain of defeat and the cheers of the opposition in the tunnel to your advantage.
They say some people see the pint glass as half full and others as half empty but elite athletes must always remain positive and stay mentally strong if they are to achieve their goals.
For all those Seagulls fans edging closer to the end of ‘dry January’ they may just be able to enjoy a half-full pint after the game on Saturday. Saturday, February 2.
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