Delighted Hughton on 'special goal' against West Ham, setting a safety target and Knockaert and Cresswell altercation

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

A delighted Chris Hughton said it took a 'special goal' to send Brighton & Hove Albion to a crucial victory over West Ham at the Amex.

A Jose Izquierdo stunner helped secure the Seagulls' first win of 2018 and produced just their second victory in 15 attempts to give them a boost in the relegation scrap.

Glenn Murray's opener and Pascal Gross' third clinched a 3-1 success, which saw them complete a Premier League double over a West Ham side that were unbeaten in six ahead of their trip to the Amex.

Victory lifted the Seagulls up to 13th in a congested Premier League table, three points clear of the bottom three which Stoke and Huddersfield slipped into to accompany basement boys West Bromwich Albion.

Hughton said: "I thought we started the game very well and got the goal. We found it difficult to sustain the levels of the start and allowed an in-form West Ham team back into the game.

"We were very disappointed coming in at 1-1 and knew we had to raise our game again. I thought second half it was close to being as good as we have been this season here.

"The first time we played West Ham their form wasn't so good and arguably you could say it was a good time to play them. That was different today because they are in good form and have looked very, very solid.

"Sometimes these games take a little bit of a special goal to break the deadlock and for as good as I thought we were in the second half - against a good team - I thought the second goal not only gave us the lead, but lifted the stadium as well.

"That helps - when you get that type of atmosphere that can lift the lads on to what I thought was a very good performance after that."

On setting a target of points for Premier League safety, Hughton said: "I must admit whenever I am asked about the amount of wins or points it will take (to stay up), it is not something I think about very much.

"All I am thinking about now is can we get as many three-points as possible. I do think going into this last series of games through to the end of the season, I think it will be the teams that can get the three-pointers that manage to get themselves away from the bottom three.

"That is all I think about and why I am so delighted we managed to get three today."

Hughton also revealed that he was not aware of the suggestion that Anthony Knockaert and Aaron Cresswell clashed at half-time in the tunnel and had to be separated.

Any such altercations may have come about after the West Ham man scythed down Knockaert in the build-up to Albion's opening goal.

The Seagulls boss commented: "I must admit that is the first I know about that. If that is the case then it's the nature of the game. It's a very competitive game and there are always going to challenges that players don't like and will react.

"Most importantly it's about the referee making decisions at the time. Anything we see afterwards is the nature of our game."