Leon Balogun has described Brighton and Hove Albion’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in Sunday’s Premier League outing as early Christmas gifts for the visitors.
Two first-half goals were all Maurizio Sarri’s men needed to grab maximum points at the Amex Stadium despite a tensed finish.
Pedro and Eden Hazard fired Chelsea ahead in the 17th and 33rd minutes respectively but Solly March’s second-half effort was enough to earn a point for the hosts.
And Balogun who was involved in the build-up to Chelsea’s second goal rued his side’s second consecutive league defeat.
The Nigerian centre-back who played for the entire 90 minutes did not win a single tackle for his team but made four successful interceptions.
“We could have easily got something from the game – we feel like we’ve given them two early Christmas presents,” Balogun told club website.
“It’s a poor pass from me for the second, but we reacted to that after the break and did very well in the second half.
“I think we gave them a really hard time, and that’s why the disappointment is there for us.”
The Seagulls are 13th in the Premier League table and the 30-year-old believes his team’s response at the closing stages of the encounter can give them confidence in their league match against Bournemouth on Saturday.
“The manager was frustrated by the goals we conceded – they’re more or less unforced errors, but we can take encouragement by thinking what have would happened if it wasn’t for those moments in the game,” he added.
“I can’t think of another chance where they really troubled us, and the manager just emphasised that we should remain focused and stay in the game at the break.
“We even topped that and we were close to getting something that we deserved.
“It has to give us confidence – we had them on the edge of getting a draw, nobody would have complained if we managed to get a point.”