Graham Potter proud of 10-man Brighton despite late agony at Aston Villa
Brighton head coach Graham Potter refused to criticise the decision to send off Aaron Mooy and insisted he was proud of his players after a painful late 2-1 loss at Aston Villa.
Both teams went into the game on the back of fine wins ahead of the international break, Villa thrashing Norwich and Brighton beating Tottenham 3-0.
But Villa celebrated another three points as they came from behind to win, with the excellent Jack Grealish teeing up Matt Targett to score his first goal for the club with almost the last kick of an entertaining contest.
Grealish had equalised in first-half stoppage time after Albion's Mooy had been sent off for two yellow cards, following Adam Webster's maiden goal for Potter's side. Mooy's first yellow was issued when he stopped a freekick from being taken quickly. His second arrived soon after when he needlessly clattered into Grealish. It was frustrating for Albion as up until that point, they had been the better team and deserved their 1-0 lead.
Potter now has the job of picking his players up in preparation for the visit of Everton next week. "It is a painful one that is for sure," he said."They have given everything and when it happens in that manner with the last kick it is particularly heart-wrenching for the players.
"The sending off has a big influence on the match and until then we were the better team and deserved to be 1-0 up. Second half I thought we played with tremendous courage and quality."I am just disappointed with the result but very proud with us as a team and how we conducted ourselves on the pitch.
“It’s tough to take because the players were amazing and gave me everything. With 11 players we were really good and worthy of our lead – the sending off affects the game and we played for nearly an hour with a man less, while still contributing to the match."
Brighton are 16th in the Premier league on nine points after nine matches. The win lifts Villa up to 11th with 11 points.
Home manager Dean Smith gave high praise to his skipper Grealish. "He was excellent," Smith said.
"Other sides that people don't see or hear or write about, he ran 60 yards back to dispossess a player in our penalty box - it was a captain's performance today.
"He was integral to everything going forwards. It was no surprise that he scores in front of the Holte End and then gets the assist as well. All in all a good performance from him."