Hughton: Brighton need 40 points to avoid relegation

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has set his players a target of securing seven points in their final nine matches to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Seagulls grabbed a welcome 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace this afternoon to move five points clear of 18th-place Cardiff City.

Glenn Murray returned to Selhurst Park to haunt his old club by giving Brighton the lead with a brilliant volley after capitalising on James Tomkins’ error.

Despite Luka Milivojevic equalising through a penalty for Palace, Anthony Knockaert secured victory for Brighton with a stunning match-winner in the 74th-minute.

On the back of securing back-to-back wins for the first time since December, Hughton has now set Brighton a new target as they enter the final phase of the season.

“I always maintained 40 points is the easiest and obvious one to look for. It’s something to aim for and every team wants to surpass that,” Hughton told Sky Sports.

“We have two wins on the spin and we’ve not had many back-to-back wins this season. We can try, after the cup game against Southampton, to make that three.”

The match was not without incident, however, after Knockaert got away with a questionable challenge on Milivojevic in the first minute.

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“From where I was – and I was very close – absolutely not [a red card],” said Hughton on Knockaert’s challenge.

“Both went for the same ball. The reason why he [Craig Pawson] booked Anthony was because his leg was raised slightly more so.

“The difference between the two challenges wasn’t a lot and I think it was what he saw with Anthony’s tackle. That tackle was absolutely not a red card.”

Next up for Brighton will be a FA Cup quarter-final match at Championship side Millwall next Sunday before they take on Southampton on March 30 in the Premier League following the international break.

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