Mur­ray bat­tles back from hos­pi­tal scare

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Paul Hay­ward at the Amex Sta­dium

Chris Hughton ac­knowl­edged Glenn Mur­ray’s fear­less­ness af­ter Brighton’s 35-year-old striker se­cured a third con­sec­u­tive win in the top flight for his club for the first time since 1981.

Knocked out and hos­pi­talised at New­cas­tle seven days ago, Mur­ray dis­played a prize fighter’s pow­ers of re­cov­ery to start this game and score his 100th goal for the Al­bion af­ter an in­ter­change with the full-back Bruno, who is 38.

“Glenn was adamant he was fine and wanted to play,” Hughton said. “For us it was al­ways about would there be a ner­vous­ness? Be­cause we fol­lowed the pro­to­col we knew med­i­cally he was fine. So then re­ally it’s about the player – [whether] we feel there might be some re­luc­tance, a bit of fear. But we never got that feel­ing off Glenn. My thoughts were al­ways to play him be­cause we were able to.”

This vic­tory against a stylish but blunt Wolves side marked the first time in 37 years since Brighton have won three in a row at this level. And they have now earned 39 of their 54 Pre­mier League points at the Amex Sta­dium.

Mur­ray reached his cen­tury a week af­ter he swal­lowed his tongue on the pitch at St James’ Park and ended up at the lo­cal in­fir­mary.

If his first-half per­for­mance was un­con­vinc­ing, his work af­ter the in­ter­val showed why he has be­come in­dis­pens­able to Brighton’s new life at the top.

He also re­minded Wolves what they lack: a fin­isher to round off their in­ci­sive pass­ing. Raul Jimenez, with two goals, is the only Wolves player to score more than one in the league this term, but he was in­nocu­ous and re­moved af­ter an hour.

Mur­ray’s role as totem was fur­ther en­hanced by his per­se­ver­ance, which re­flects Brighton’s tal­ent for fight­ing back in games that seem to be go­ing against them.

Wolves changed their league start­ing line-up for the first time this sea­son, in their 10th out­ing, with Diogo Jota ap­par­ently pay­ing the price for last week’s de­feat by Wat­ford. Adama Traore was the ben­e­fi­ciary, for 60 min­utes, at any rate. Frus­trated by the lack of a goalscor­ing threat, Nuno Es­pir­ito Santo, the Wolves man­ager, made a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion af­ter an hour, send­ing on Ivan Cavaleiro for Jimenez and Jota for Traore.

But still Wolves failed to con­vert pos­ses­sion into goals. Nuno said he was “dis­ap­pointed be­cause we con­ceded to Brighton’s only shot; dis­ap­pointed be­cause we were not fo­cused for [Mur­ray’s] goal”.

Hughton, how­ever, could re­flect on an­other no­table ad­vance. “The fo­cus in the chang­ing room is on three on the spin, which for a team like ours is very dif­fi­cult to do,” he said. “In the last two weeks we’ve had to rely on de­ter­mi­na­tion in the team – on team spirit, and play­ers de­fend­ing very well.

“In the sec­ond sea­son in this di­vi­sion you’re al­ways look­ing down as op­posed to up. It’s all about pick­ing up points and se­cur­ing as big a gap as you can from that bot­tom three.”

An el­derly Brighton sup­porter died in hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing taken ill be­fore the game.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.