Nantes boss Miguel Cardoso has highlighted the “incredible intensity” of Albion’s pressing game.

And, while that might say a lot about the contrasts between the Portuguese and English leagues, it will also be music to the ears of the home team.

Chances are Watford boss Javi Gracia will not say Albion were “incredible” after the Premier League opener at Vicarage Road next Saturday, whatever happens.

But the Seagulls are keen to turn up the heat this term and have been working hard to be in physical shape to do that.

They felt they did that for an hour or so before losing momentum in the later stages of their 2-1 friendly win over Nantes.

It was certainly in evidence for what turned out to be the winning goal.

True, defender Abdoulaye Toure took a heavy touch when the ball was played back to him on the left edge of his own box.

But Tomer Hemed was in quickly and had players supporting him as he pressed, notably Pascal Gross, who scored.

Davy Propper sprung forward as soon as left-back Diego Carlos played the ball back towards Toure.

As the pass rolled back towards Toure he had three blue and white shirts in his vision while he tried to make sure, unsuccessfully, his first touch was perfect.

The Argus:

Nantes are finding their way under new manager Cardoso, who has just arrived from the Portuguese league.

Cardoso likes his men to be comfortable on the ball – as they were when picking their way through the press in the flowing move which led to Emiliano Sala hitting the near post.

He coached tiny Rio Ave to fifth place last season on the back of an attractive passing and possession game.

Rio Ave will have come up against more vaunted opponents who fancied nicking the ball off them and failed.

But Cardoso looked impressed to the point of surprised as he reflected on what he had come up against at the Amex.

He said: “It was a very good match for us. It was a match played in an incredible intensity.

“In the first half it was actually difficult to follow because the pressing on us was so strong.

“That’s very good because it was the first time we’ve played a match like that and come under that level of pressing.

“We had chances before Brighton scored.

“But I thought Brighton were very intelligent in how they used the spaces in behind us.

“The intensity was incredible. They are a strong team, a Premier League team who are very good at home.”

Gross was the man to benefit this time as that Toure error allowed him to pick up where he left off at the Amex.

Having scored the last two goals at the stadium last season – against Tottenham and Manchester United in front of the North Stand – he calmly tucked his shot past Ciprian Tatarusanu for what turned out to be the winner.

Gross said: “The other team take risks, we press the ball together as a team.

“I thought we won a lot of balls but we have to play better with the final pass.

“It is always tight, the other team is always good.”

As he prepared for the interviews to start, a rather weary Gross highlighted the heat and airless feel out in the middle on Friday night.

The temperature dropped from about 30degC to the low 20s during the course of the match.

There was no discernible cooling breeze, which is unusual for the Amex.

And even a fitness fanatic like Gross felt the effects.

He is aware it may well be hotter when the Premier League season opens at Watford.

But he will also realise both teams will make the same, or similar, number of substitutions.

Chris Hughton made just two changes in the second half, to add to the early introduction of Hemed for Glenn Murray.

Meanwhile, Cardoso kept throwing on the fresh legged subs.

The Ligue Un Conforama outfit could have nicked a draw through the efforts of their inventive skipper Valentin Rongier, one of three players highlighted by The Argus ahead of the game as worth looking out for.

But Gross said it was important Albion did not let their lead slip, friendly or not.

He said “ If maybe at the end we had drawn the game, I wouldn’t have been happy.

“I always want to win a game when I play."