Defeat at Brighton - match report and debrief
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Spurs
Sun 31 January 2021, 21:12|Tottenham Hotspur
We suffered a second Premier League defeat in the space of four days as Leandro Trossard’s first-half goal gave Brighton the win at the Amex Stadium on Sunday evening.
Although we had only lost one of our last 12 league away games and the Seagulls had failed to win any of their previous 15 home matches in the division, those statistics counted for nothing as the home side took all three points. The goal came in the 17th minute, after Pascal Gross had earlier hit the post. He was involved in the goal too, receiving Alexis Mac Allister’s threaded pass in the inside right channel and cutting the ball back for Trossard to guide it past Hugo Lloris from 12 yards.
Steven Bergwijn had our first effort at goal after half-an-hour as we struggled to really get a foothold in the game, his shot drifting a yard wide of Robert Sanchez’s far post.
It was a better display after the interval, although Lloris was called upon to make a smart save low down to keep out Ben White’s deflected effort. We had a spell of pressure in the final 20 minutes, Heung-Min Son hitting a right-foot shot straight at Sanchez and seconds later, the goalkeeper pulled off a stunning save, diving full-length to his right to tip away substitute Carlos Vinicius’ effort from the edge of the area.
The home side almost doubled their lead when Gross’s square pass across the area looked certain to be knocked home by Aaron Connolly, only for Toby Alderweireld to stretch out a leg and divert it away for a corner. We had plenty of the ball in the closing stages, but couldn’t create a noteworthy chance and slipped to defeat on another disappointing evening.
Late flurry fails to deliver
After the disappointment of losing at home to Liverpool on Thursday, we were looking for a response on the south coast but unfortunately it never occurred.
Brighton were quickly into the ascendency in the game, Gross’s effort against the post after just three minutes an early warning sign. And when they went ahead 14 minutes later as Trossard put the finishing touch to a well-worked move, it wasn’t a surprise.
We had started with a back three again, as we did against Liverpool, but didn’t manage to create an opportunity until Son led a breakaway in the 30th minute which ended with Bergwijn firing wide. Seven minutes later, Gareth Bale was in the right place to head clear after Lewis Dunk’s header from a Gross corner looked to be going in.
We made a change at half-time, both in personnel and formation with Carlos Vinicius replacing Davinson Sanchez and switching to a flat back four with Moussa Sissoko moving from right wing-back to a traditional right-back role.
Son saw a shot well blocked by Adam Webster as we looked for a way back into the game, but it just wasn’t happening for us and Lloris – making his 350th appearance for us – prevented further damage when White steered a cross from the right towards goal, the ball deflecting off Alderweireld but the skipper reacted well to save.
Our best chance of the game came in the 75th minute when Ben Davies fed the ball into Vinicius on the edge of the area with his back to goal, but he spun well and hit a left-foot drive that was heading inside the post until Sanchez’s fine intervention.
Alderweireld’s superb defensive block to keep out Connolly with just six minutes remaining might have lifted us to go and salvage a draw but Brighton’s determined defending ensured there was no way back.
Team news saw Jose Mourinho make four changes to the team that started against Liverpool on Thursday. Alderweireld, Sanchez, Sissoko and Bale came in for Serge Aurier, Matt Doherty, Eric Dier and Harry Kane. Alfie Devine was on the bench for the first time in the Premier League.
'We didn't start well'
Jose said after the game: "We didn’t start well... mentally, with that happiness, that positive feeling you need to play football. I felt the team started the game sad, and when we conceded that first goal, it was a complete loss of dynamic in the first half. The second half was totally different. We couldn’t score, we didn’t create that many, many chances, our dominance was a dominance with a couple of good chances but no more than that. We didn’t score, we were not happy not to score a goal, but the second half the feeling was much better. The players leave with a defeat, and a defeat is always a defeat, but they leave with a second half where I have nothing to criticise them."
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Spurs
Brighton (3-5-2): Sanchez, White, Dunk (c), Webster, Veltman (Burn 72), Gross, Bissouma, Mac Allister, March, Trossard (Connolly 79), Maupay (Lallana 79). Substitutes (not used): Walton, Moder, Alzate, Izquierdo, Tau, Zeqiri.
Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris (c), Sanchez (Vinicius 46), Alderweireld, Rodon, Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Lamela 74), Davies, Bergwijn, Son, Bale (Lucas 62). Substitutes (not used): Hart, Doherty, Dier, Tanganga, Winks, Devine.
Goal: Brighton – Trossard 17.
Yellow cards: Brighton – Maupay, Burn; Spurs - Alderweireld.
Referee: Peter Bankes.
Venue: Amex Stadium.
Weather: Light rain, gentle breeze, three degrees.