Brighton boss Hughton on Chelsea's form, Eden Hazard, whether he'll rotate his team, Neil Warnock's ref outburst and more

Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Chris Hughton spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion's match at Chelsea on Wednesday. Here are the key points from his pre-match press conference.

What's the team news?


"At this moment Pascal Gross is still not available. Florin (Andone) trained again this morning so we are hopeful he will be in the squad."

How pleased were you with Chelsea's 2-1 win on Sunday as it kept Cardiff five points behind you?


"The first priority for us is to make sure our own results are good enough that we don't have to rely on others.


"As soon as our result is finished, you want the other teams around you to have not done well.


"We would prefer to make sure it's in our own hands."

Did your players show signs of pressure or nerves on Saturday against Southampton?


"My opinion is no. I think we are used to being in that position where possibly there is a little bit of added pressure.


"I just don't think we played at the levels we needed to win a game against a good team that are in good form at the moment.


"In previous games we hadn't felt that and we were on the back of a decent win. I just think we didn't play at the levels to win a football match in what was a close game in regards chances.


"If they don't score a very good goal on the counter-attack, then it's the type of game that ends in a draw."

How do you approach Wednesday's game? You've said you want a better performance.


"That's what comes the first for me. If we are talking about the top clubs and trying to be as close to them as possible, you know the areas you are going to lose out.


"But if you can get a performance at one of the big clubs away from home, it can be a little bit different from expectations elsewhere.


"If you get that performance it gives you a chance and keeps you in the game and there's a better feel about yourself as a team. That's always where it has to start."

Chelsea's league form has been patchy in the last six weeks. Do you sense a chance?


"Most importantly we want a response from our players. There isn't anywhere we've gone this season that we've gone there thinking we're going to lose and can we just keep it a tight game?


"We know we're reliant on playing well and the opposition playing poorly. Anything different to that and the top six teams are generally always going to win.


"We're reliant on other factors but mostly we'll just concentrate on ourselves and playing well enough to give ourselves a chance."

Are you tempted to make changes with the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday?


"In all honesty, people have asked me would the result against Southampton have made any difference if we'd won the game and my honest answer is I never knew.


"It was always going to be play that game against Southampton and then think about the team for Chelsea.


"In my mind at this moment I don't have a team in my mind for Saturday. I'm having thoughts about my team for Wednesday but literally this is the most important game for us.


"If we can play well enough, get a bit of luck and fortune, then it's about trying to get some points on Wednesday night. Then it's about picking the team for Saturday and then we have more important games coming up."

Neil Warnock said the Premier League is the best league in the world with the worst officials, do you agree?


"I can understand Neil's frustration after a game where there some decisions that went against his team.


"I can understand his feelings and his emotions.


"We are also a team who have been on the end of some poor decisions that have gone against us. It's part and parcel of the game.


"I feel we have a good standard overall of refereeing here.


"VAR will come in next season and I think that will change the game and the dynamic of decisions that referees have to make. At this moment there will still be decisions which are tough to take, particularly with the amount of cameras we have at stadiums and the amount of footage which is being shown."

What did you learn from Chelsea's performance at Cardiff?


"It's always very difficult because you saw a Chelsea team that were perhaps not at their best. You also saw a Liverpool team in the second half maybe not at their best and getting a result.


"One thing the top six teams generally do, in whatever way they do it, they get results.


"You're always looking at where the areas are you can capitalise. There are less areas when you're playing the top teams and you're reliant on them not playing at their best and us playing at our best.


"I did watch the game. Would I have learned so much? Maybe not."

Eden Hazard turned the game. How significant is he to Chelsea?


"He is a world class player.


"For how good he was a couple of seasons ago, I think he has improved on that.


"We've had examples of that at our place this season and last season when he was outstanding. It was probably one of the best single performances we've seen at the Amex.


"Would we be grateful if he wasn't playing? Yes. I know they've got so many good players to pick from but he's an outstanding individual who can win games."

Glenn Murray says the players are looking at things one game at a time. How important is it to do that?


"At this moment, it doesn't feel any more pressurised than other periods.


"If I'm looking at where we are in the league table, we generally haven't been too far away from where we are now.


"We are a team in our development which is still going to have tough games every week. We're not going to be in a position where we can regard ourselves as comfortable and we haven't been.


"There doesn't feel any more pressure and the cup run in between that has been a bridge between a lot of the games.


"We know we didn't play well enough on Saturday. We've certainly played worse than that and got something from games. It wasn't all bad but it wasn't a level that you need to get results from.


"We are amongst a group of teams that are fighting every game. We've got to be fighting harder than them if anything."

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