Chris Hughton has issued a rallying cry to Brighton’s under-performing players as they attempt to arrest an alarming slump which has left them in serious danger of Premier League relegation.
The Seagulls were jeered off the pitch following a toothless display during Tuesday’s costly 2-0 home loss to fellow strugglers Cardiff.
Albion’s latest setback – a fourth successive league defeat without scoring – leaves them only two points above Neil Warnock’s 18th-placed Bluebirds in the battle for survival.
Brighton boss Hughton, who has been heavily criticised by sections of the club’s support following recent poor results, admitted to feeling “deflated” and believes togetherness is required to halt the worrying decline.
“As a team, as a club, and as individual players, there is only one way we can ensure we stay in this division: that’s by fighting as hard as we can, making sure that, if we’re not able to score the goals we need, that we’re not conceding,” he said.
“It’s a deflating feeling at the moment on the back of a big loss for us. We’re going to have to show a lot of resilience and togetherness in the games to come.
“The players have no choice but to turn it around, through hard work, teamwork and togetherness.”
After amassing 25 points before the turn of the year, Albion have added just eight to that total from a possible 39 in 2019 and plummeted towards the drop zone.
Their success since promotion to the top-flight has been built largely on an impressive record at the Amex Stadium.
However, the Seagulls – who must play Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City in their final five fixtures – have scored only two league goals and picked up just four points in front of their own fans this year.
“We’re lacking that real cutting edge to allow us to score goals. The teams feeling the pressure from that,” added Hughton, who takes his team to Wolves on Saturday.
“If we’re not going to score the goals, we need to be more resilient. Over the last few games, we haven’t been like that.”
After being written off by many pundits and bookmakers, Cardiff have four games left to pull off what appeared to be improbable great escape, starting with Sunday’s visit of title-chasing Liverpool.
The Bluebirds’ significantly inferior goal difference on Brighton means they are effectively three points from safety and boss Warnock has urged his players to give everything in the quest for survival.
“I think (Liverpool) is a free hit really. We’re not going to stay up on goal difference are we?,” said Warnock.
“Liverpool can score five or six against teams like us. They’ve got so many quality players.
“But I think it’s a game that with our crowd and a full house, we can give it a good go.
“Every game we have to play like it’s our last, and give it our best shot.”