Hughton on Atletico Madrid test, Knockaert's return, Ryan mistake and Propper rumours

Chris Hughton was pleased with Brighton & Hove Albion's final pre-season workout against Athletico Madrid and has spoken on Anthony Knockaert's return, Mathew Ryan's mistake and Davy Propper rumours.

Sunday, 6th August 2017, 10:05 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 4:16 am
Anthony Knockaert returned from injury and played the last 20 minutes against Atletico Madrid. Picture by PW Sporting Pics

The La Liga giants edged to a 3-2 victory in front of a packed Amex as Lucas Hernandez netted the winner two minutes from time after Albion had twice come from behind to level through goals from Pascal Gross and Steve Sidwell.

The Spanish side brought a star-studded team to the Premier League new boys and provided a tough test for the Seagulls in which they twice pegged back their visitors after goals from Nicolas Gaitan and Fernando Torres .

Hughton believed the match was the perfect test ahead of their season opener next Saturday and said: "It was a really good game for us, certainly going into our first game next week against Man City then we could not have had a more similar test.

"I am really pleased that Atletico Madrid agreed to come. I would like to think that they would have got some good value in being here as well, but I thought it was a really good game for us.

"Overall, I was happy with what I saw from us overall. What Atletico have shown is the quality they have got on the ball right throughout the pitch. These are not only a top team in Europe but they are a top team the world. We experienced a lot today and had to defend very well and use our shape at times as well. I was delighted to get the two goals as well."

Anthony Knockart made a shock return to the bench and played the final 20 minutes despite fears he might miss the start of the season with an ankle injury.

The winger, however, may not be fit enough to start next week against Manchester City with Hughton saying they will 'assess' him in the build-up.

Solly March was replaced late on after being on the edge of a bad tackle, but the Albion boss was confident it was just an impact knock.

He said: "You never say never, but Anthony has done about four-days training now. What he had done, the reason why we were in a position to give him some minutes today was because he had done the first two weeks in pre-season.

"We were confident, he has done a good four days and the injury is no problem. We will assess him this week, but we are conscious he has played only 20 minutes from a tough pre-season game, apart from training."

Mathew Ryan, who was awarded as the sponsor's man of the match, also received the backing of his boss after his mistake gifted Atletico the lead just before half-time.

The Australian had made a string of saves before turning a low effort into his own net, but Hughton said: "He would be the one in the whole stadium that would feel it the most, but he had made two good saves before that and overall, if you took that (the mistake) out of the game, overall, he has had a good game.

"That's what goalkeepers do. They are the last line and the top goalkeepers will always make mistakes. It is not about the mistakes they make, it is how they reaction from it. And I have no problems or doubt that he will be fine with it."

With rumours swirling post match of the immanent record signing of PSV midfielder Davy Propper, Hughton played the question with a straight bat, despite the Brighton & Hove Independent being told the 25-year-old watched the game from the boardroom today.

Hughton added: "At this moment on any names or speculation, they are always other teams' players, so until we can speak about something that is definit, it will always just be speculation."