Australians have a tendency to tell it how it is.

Mathew Ryan is no exception. The goalkeeper is absolutely right when he says Albion have gone soft defensively.

The Seagulls conceded more goals in the defeat by Burnley than in any home game for 13 months.

At Fulham in the last away match in the Premier League they let in four goals for the first time this season on their travels.

The previous heavy leaking at home was against Chelsea last season, when Albion were beaten 4-0.

The month before Liverpool won 5-1 at the Amex, then 4-0 at Anfield at the end of the campaign.

That can happen when the top six sides are on song, especially as a first season club. Others have suffered far worse.

Fulham and Burnley? That is different. Both teams were in the relegation zone when Albion faced them.

Fulham still are with little hope of survival. The second half capitulation at Craven Cottage after leading 2-0 is one of only two wins for Claudio Ranieri's strugglers in their last 14 matches.

The other was against Huddersfield, the only team below them, 1-0 at home.

Fulham have firepower but you have to go back to August for their previous four-goal haul, ironically when Burnley were beaten by the same score as Albion at Craven Cottage.

What of Sean Dyche's side, who lifted themselves back out of the bottom three with their victory at the Amex?

The last time they scored three goals away was at West Ham in March en route to that incredible seventh place finish and Europa League qualification.

Albion began the year with a 2-2 draw at an injury-hit West Ham from 2-0 up. Two conceded, four conceded, three conceded, that is not like them.

Ryan was also right when he said: "As long as I've been here and long before that I know the defensive structure has been the focal point of the team, which gives us our identity."

The Argus: If you were permitted one word to sum up why Albion have been successful under Chris Hughton (above), resilience would be high on the list.

That is what is needed to remove themselves from the uncomfortable situation they now find themselves in. They need to rediscover their identity.

Go back to basics, be hard to beat. Sometimes the opposition can open you up with brilliant play at this level and you just hold your hands up.

That has not been the case very often during the current malaise. Albion have become too easy to score against.

When goals are being conceded, everybody looks at the back four and goalkeeper.

It is not as simple as that. Defending properly is the responsibility of the whole team.

It starts from the front, not allowing opponents a straightforward route up the pitch.

Wingers working back and not just dangling a leg in a half-hearted attempt to prevent a cross going in, midfielders not giving attacking players freedom to get at the back four.

Hughton tellingly observed after the second half debacle at Fulham the defenders needed more help.

The Argus: It is little wonder that Lewis Dunk (second left above) and Shane Duffy are looking a bit more vulnerable at the heart of the defence than before, more prone to lapses.

Albion more often than not have less possession than the opposition. That is where they are in the infancy of what we hope is a Premier League journey.

It is hardly surprising if the cumulative impact of dealing week in, week out with top class strikers over one-and-a-half seasons is taking a toll.

The absence of Premier League action until the trip to Leicester on February 26 has come at a good time for Albion.

A warm weather training break after the FA Cup fifth round tie against Derby could be just what Hughton and his players need.

A change of environment, a chance to regroup and work on that defensive discipline.

An opportunity to rediscover the identity which took them to the Premier League, ensured they stayed in it last season and, with 12 games to go including key ones at home, can do so again.