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Poyet hails his battlers

19 September 2012

Gus Poyet praised his players' character after they battled to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Watford to maintain their early-season winning run.

Craig Mackail-Smith's penalty four minutes into the second half - his sixth goal in four games - was enough to fire the Seagulls to their fourth straight victory and keep them third in the npower Championship.

The Brighton manager said: "It was a very difficult one, there were so many things that happened in the game, so at the end you think we really battled to get a result. Credit to the players."

Asked if the victory could be looked upon in an even more significant light later in the season, Poyet responded: "Probably because Watford needed to win and they started really brightly, they had a few shots from long distance.

"I remember a deflected shot that on another day would have gone in - and then the whole game would have changed," he said of Fernando Forestieri's early strike that flew narrowly wide off Adam El-Abd.

He continued: "At half-time I thought it was going to be one of those days where we're not going to score but then the penalty changed the game. It gave that little bit of urgency to Watford and they started committing forward and we needed to defend."

Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola, who played alongside Poyet at Chelsea, said: "The [Brighton] penalty was a penalty, I will have to see.

"But after that it's been one after another chance and, honestly, if that was a penalty for Brighton at least one of the ones for us was a penalty too.

"I'm very disappointed because the referee is there, he saw it and he didn't give and it's such a disappointment because my players deserved something more from that and they gave everything until the end.

"We are fighting against the odds, difficulties - but we are going to make a good team out of this team, I promise."

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