Tottenham Hotspur-Brighton & Hove Albion Preview
Brighton & Hove Albion welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Amex Stadium on Tuesday with both clubs looking to bounce back from disappointing weekend results.
Visitors Spurs (20-7-6) saw a 14-game unbeaten run end against Premier League champions Manchester City, while hosts Brighton (8-11-14) went down 3-2 to fellow strugglers Crystal Palace.
Brighton's loss still leaves them in some, albeit not immediate, threat of relegation. The Seagulls remain seven points above the drop and therefore still mathematically not out of trouble - particularly given a daunting run-in containing fixtures against entirely members of the top seven: Spurs, Burnley, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Despite the defeat, Chris Hughton's side twice responded after going two goals behind against Palace, and the Brighton manager has urged his side to build on that response against high-flying Spurs in an effort to pick up the win that would likely seal survival.
"There's huge disappointment with the type of goals we conceded, and if you do that in any game, particularly in this division, it's very hard to come back from that," Hughton said. "But the good part of what we saw (against Palace) was how we finished the second half. I thought we were brave and had two very good chances to draw level.
"We'll need a huge amount of that come Tuesday, because we know the quality of the side we're up against. We're at home and we'll need to show some of that bravery that we showed in the second half."
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham were the form team in the Premier League prior to the weekend's fixtures, but defeat in Saturday evening's match against Manchester City ended a seven-game Premier League winning streak and ultimately earned City enough points to claim the title - courtesy to second-placed Manchester United's capitulation against West Brom on Sunday.
But Spurs can't afford to dwell, with a top-four place still to be officially secured, the possibility of a finish as high as second still very much on the table, and an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United looming on Saturday. And Pochettino has called on his players to peak at this pivotal time of the season.
"I'm so happy with our season and we need to realise that we need to keep pushing and to keep working because to play at this level is about being consistent and showing better quality," Pochettino said. "Now, the most important thing is to be ready on Tuesday. On Saturday we have a massive semi-final of the FA Cup but first we need to think of Tuesday, a massive three points to try to win to achieve a place in the top four."
Brighton are without long-term injury absentees Isaiah Brown and Steve Sidwell for Tuesday's game, while Spurs are missing Harry Winks and Kyle Walker-Peters. Danny Rose could return from a calf injury and Pochettino is likely to rotate ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.
Spurs won 2-0 when these teams met at Wembley back in December, with goals in either half from Serge Aurier and Heung-Min Son earning Pochettino's side the points.
Updated April 15, 2018