March and Stephens earn Hughton's praise despite Bournemouth defeat

The Brighton and Hove Albion manager recognised the duo's impressive display following their 2-1 defeat to the Cherries.

March and Stephens earn Hughton's praise despite Bournemouth defeat
Hughton salutes travelling fans following their narrow defeat to Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium. Source via GLYN KIRK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton praised midfielders Solly March and Dale Stephens for their performances in the 2-1 loss to Bournemouth. 

March opened the scoring with a second-half header, before strikes from Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe sent Brighton home empty handed.

Despite the defeat, Hughton who's been in charge at Brighton for two years had special mention for the goalscorer March and Stephens, who impressed in the heart of midfield. 

Hughton expects more of the same 

March, who came through the Seagulls youth system has featured in every one of Brighton's opening five Premier League games and Hughton said that there is more to come from the midfielder. 

Hughton speaking of March said: "He's developing all the time. He's not somebody that normally gets onto that far post and into those areas."

Stephens moved from Charlton to the Amex in 2014 and has since made over 100 appearances for the seaside club. Hughton believed that his side had many bright periods where Bournemouth struggled to gain a foothold in the match. He noted that Stephens played a big role when they were in possession. 

He said: "There were many positives. At times our possession was very good and Dale Stephens in the middle of the park had a big influence on the game." 

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Boss says there were positives to take 

The defeat leaves Brighton level on points with the bottom three and Hughton remained optimistic with regard to their chances of survival. 

He said: "Even though they probed around our box I can't remember Matt Ryan having to make too many saves. That's always a good sign when you are playing away from home."

Defoe's quality

Jermain Defoe struck Bournemouth's winner and the striker worked under Hughton during his time at Spurs where the former Newcastle United boss was assistant manager. 

"Jermain will always score goals," said Hughton. "In respect of his age, he looks after himself very well and he has a real desire to do well. I've no doubt there are still many good years in him."

Brighton return to The Vitality Stadium on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup and will be hoping to set the defeat straight.