Albion boss Steve Coppell saluted his side for pushing Premiership Middlesbrough to the brink, then immediately set his sights on the more important task of pushing for promotion.

Coppell is more concerned about Saturday's League game at Hartlepool than the 1-0 exit from the Carling Cup at the Riverside Stadium, courtesy of a goal five minutes into extra time by Boro's sub Malcolm Christie.

Coppell said: "I am not disappointed at all about losing. In many ways I wasn't bothered about this game.

"I said to the players we are not going to win the competition, so go out there and enjoy the challenge of pitting yourselves against Premiership footballers.

"That is what they did. They thoroughly enjoyed the stadium and the pitch. We tried to play and all of my players can look back on the game with a certain degree of satisfaction, but it's not what we are about.

"Cup football doesn't do anything for us. Our target at the start of the season was to finish as high in the League as possible. This was just a pleasant diversion."

Albion's defiant display was spearheaded by Michel Kuipers. The big Dutchman was in fine form in his second match back from a loan spell at Hull.

"He made some terrific, instinctive, saves," Coppell said.

"That is his strength, saves out of almost nothing.

"He was very ably supported by a solid back four and a team committed to making life as hard as possible for Middlesbrough."

There was a worrying moment for Albion early in the second half when midfielder Simon Rodger was stretchered off but the injury to his left knee was thought to be less serious than first feared.

Coppell explained: "I think it is just a little bit of floating bone. He got off the stretcher in the dressing room and it was all right."

Kuipers said: "We played really well. To come off the pitch after 90 minutes with a 0-0 draw and clean sheet was a very good performance by the whole team."

In the first period of extra time Coppell gave a debut to striker Jake Robinson, aged 16 and 336 days. He became the fourth youngest player in the club's history.

Relieved Boro boss Steve McClaren said: "We knew Brighton would be organised and Kuipers made some great saves."