Murray battles back from hospital scare
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.