Chris Hughton: Everyone knows the fondness I have for Newcastle

Rafa Benitez and Chris Hughton last night
Rafa Benitez and Chris Hughton last night

Chris Hughton’s hoping to meet Newcastle United again – in the Premier League.

Late goals from Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez last night saw United return to the top of the Championship ahead of Saturday’s game against third-placed Huddersfield Town.

Brighton manager Hughton, the last man to guide Newcastle out of the Championship, is hoping that both clubs will be in the top flight next season.

“I’d like to see this (fixture) in the Premier League,” said Hughton.

“Everyone knows the fondness I have for Newcastle, a wonderful side with a great squad. It’s testament to our side that we’ve stayed with them all season.

“The closer we are to Newcastle gives us the best chance of going up.

“There are very good sides at the top of this division, teams who don’t look like losing many games. It could go on to April. But they’re tough games every week for everybody.

“When Bristol City can go to Newcastle and get a draw, it shows what this division is all about.”

Brighton led through a controversial first-half Glenn Murray penalty. And Hughton was convinced his team would hold on to their advantage, despite some nervous moments.

“Over 90 minutes, it’s not a result we deserved,” said Hughton. “I genuinely felt, up until the equaliser, we’d go on and win the game.

“The equaliser was one of those unfortunate goals. They happen. I wondered how it had gone in. That gave a very, very strong Newcastle team a little bit of momentum going into that last period.

“Up until then, I thought we weren’t at our best, but I felt we would hold on and get a result.”

Ciaran Clark was penalised for grappling with Murray in the box.

United manager Rafa Benitez felt the decision of referee Robert Madley was harsh, but Hughton said: “There’s no doubt he (Clark) has his hands over him.

“The referee was in a very good position to see it, and he’s given it. I thought it was a penalty.”