There are those Albion followers who, in hindsight, trace last season’s relegation flirtation back to a cold and wet January night at Fulham.

That was the evening we saw a Chris Hughton side we did not recognise, swept away in 45 minutes by four goals from a Fulham team who had looked there for the taking.

Having played with swagger and confidence to take a 2-0 lead which should have been greater, Albion subsided with a whimper to a team who would have been staring at relegation had they lost.

Hughton was outmanoeuvred by the tinkerman himself, Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri.

Albion ended that match still seven points clear of the drop zone. They were 13th, as they would have been had they won.

But, looking back, there are many who reckon that was the night we started to see warning signs that the Seagulls might have a fight on their hands.

No such hindsight will be needed this time around.

The Argus:

Albion’s 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth left them looking over their shoulders and represented a second missed opportunity in four days to open up some breathing space. There can and will be no complacency.

They now go into an 11-day break in league fixtures which Graham Potter says will be torture.

And it is hard to know what is worse.

Being swept away by Mitrovic and company last season in what we told ourselves was just a freak 45 minutes in freakish conditions.

Or showing the same recent failings of not taking a stranglehold on a game when on top.

The end result was that Bournemouth, like Fulham last year and West Brom the season before that, breathed new life into their survival hopes when Albion might have sent them a bit closer to the cliff edge.

“I love being in this league,” Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said.

So do a lot of people. One of the few saving graces for Albion this year compared to last is they cannot, as it seemed back then, sleepwalk into danger while assuming they would be okay. They are under threat and they know it.

It will be on minds during this 11-day break between fixtures due to their early FA Cup exit.

“It is going to be a long, torturous few days for me, that is for sure,” Potter told The Argus.

“It is not pleasant, it’s not nice. We are disappointed. We have only picked up one point in the last two games.

“We need to work, we need to find a solution, we need to stick together, we need to help each other, that is how it is. That is an easy answer for me.”

Much of the work might centre on getting full value for all your good play.

There were stats being shown in the media room after Tuesday’s game telling how many shots Albion had had, how much possession.

But those stats count for very little.

And what about assists stats? The best assist was by Arom Mooy at 0-0 with his disguised reverse ball in behind for Neal Maupay.

But he got no credit on the stats sheet because Maupay was denied by Aaron Ramsdale in perhaps the turning point of the evening.

Previously timid Bournemouth and their nervy fans responded to that shock and it was amazing how easily Albion caved in.

Having been so assured and confident, they suddenly looked very jittery very quickly.

Potter said it was not as if Albion had been camped in their own box when Harry Wilson opened the scoring.

That was partly true but overlooked the fact Wilson had already seen two on-target attempts blocked.

Potter said: “We had shots, we had chances but we made it hard for ourselves.

“If you don’t score and then the opposition score, then you don’t deserve anything .

“I think we have to see it that way. Football is not a beauty contest.

“There’s no value for any style, necessarily, in terms of it guarantees you anything or you deserve anything because you do this or that.

“The reality is we gave a relatively cheap goal away. We did a lot well until that point.

“But then Bournemouth scored a second, a third and they had other opportunities as well because we were pushing.

“You don’t deserve anything if you can’t score and we can’t defend the box well enough.”

Unlike Ranieri by the Thames last year, Potter did not change his line-up at half-time. He waited until the hour.

“But then Albion had not been outplayed for 45 minutes in the way Fulham were that night.

Asked what his thinking was, Potter said: “Take the score out of the 45 minutes - and that is a hard thing because the scoreline is the most important thing – but, in terms of our performance, I thought we were doing quite a lot well.

“But we shot ourselves in the foot and then the scoreline goes to 2-0 and then we have to do something.

“I wanted to see if the guys could react (straight after half-time) and I thought we did.

“I thought the effort was there, the attitude was there.”

Effort, spirit, togetherness will be key in these testing times.

Former skipper Bruno looked to do his bit on that score yesterday.

In a social media posting which was shared by the club, Bruno wrote: “Never forget where you came from and never take your eyes off where you’re heading. Unity is strength.

“These boys, they prepare themselves every day, they work hard every day and they learn from failure every day. Better things are coming.”

Albion fans will hope so. Enough of the football they have seen this season gives reason for belief.

Not everyone thinks last season’s troubles started at Fulham. Some go back to the way a lead was lost at West Ham in the first game of 2019.

The London Stadium was also where the Seagulls suggested they had really arrived in the elite with a 3-0 win the previous season.

It would be a great place to put things back on course this time.