Benitez says a number of his players are still learning the ropes in the Premier League after 1-0 defeat
Newcastle beaten as Brighton's Hughton backs Hemed over stamping claims
Chris Hughton spoke out in defence of Tomer Hemed after the goalscorer of Brighton and Hove Albion’s decisive goal in their 1-0 triumph over Newcastle United on Sunday was accused of stamping.
Hemed had hooked in what proved to be the winning goal for the home side six minutes after half time, but he then clashed with DeAndre Yedlin in the closing stages of proceedings.
No action was taken against Hemed by the officials, despite claims from the Newcastle players that he had stamped on Yedlin’s ankle. Hughton, aware the incident could now be investigated by the English Football Association, backed his player.
“My very first impression is no intent,” he told Sky Sports. “There has been contact but my first impression is no intent and knowing the individual I would say no intent.”
The three points lifted Brighton up to 13th in the table as they picked up their second successive home win as they continue to recover from a slow start to the campaign that had seen them pick up only one point from their opening three games.
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Hughton, a former manager at Newcastle, was pleased with his side’s performance given how highly he rated Rafa Benitez’s team.
“It was a hard-fought victory,” he said. “They are a good side, They showed that in their last three games.
“There were not masses between the two teams.
“Overall we deserved it, not a lot in it, but we’ve deserved it. With seven points it is a decent return. We have learnt a lot in the game we have played so far.”
Benitez was frustrated that his side had ended proceedings pointless, and felt that Hemed’s goal should have been ruled out for a foul in the build up. “At the end we had the control,” he told the BBC.
“Credit to them because they did well in the first half. I am not happy with the way we conceded. It was a block, an illegal blockm" he added. "You cannot argue too much but it is very difficult to understand some things. They pushed my players.
“We passed the ball a little better, they were defending more because they were winning.”
Both Brighton and Newcastle were promoted to the top flight in the summer and Benitez said a number of his players are still a little inexperienced for the division.
“We deserved more,” he said. “We are still without too much experience in the Premier League.
“We have to manage these situations a bit better.”
Newcastle could have gone fourth with a victory, but instead remain ninth with three wins and three defeats from six games.
Benitez when asked to rate his season’s start, ahead of next Sunday’s home game with Liverpool, said: “I was happy before the game and not so happy after the game.
“It is a long way to go so we have to keep going and keep improving.”