Albion boss Chris Hughton rued the timing and the nature of the goals in today's 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

The Seagulls held the Premier League champions comfortably in the first half at Stamford Bridge.

Then Alvaro Morato, back from a ban, headed in Cesar Azpiluceta's cross inside the opening minute of the restart and Albion conceded again from a corner on the hour, Morata's fellow Spaniard Marco Alonso angling in a header from a Cesc Fabregas delivery.

Hughton said: "I think when you analyse the game, the game generally was not dramatically different to what you'd predict.

"They'd have a lot of possession and ask a lot of questions, and we'd have to defend well. The biggest disappointments are the timing of the first goal, which gave them a lift, and the second: conceding from a set-play.

"That's where you think you can be on the same level as them. At 1-0 you're still in the game against a very good Chelsea team, so I'm hugely disappointed with the two goals."

Hughton made four changes. Skipper Bruno, Gaetan Bong, Pascal Gross, Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray were all absent from the starting line-up, with key games looming away to Hughton's old club Newcastle on Saturday and Bournemouth at the Amex 48 hours later.

"It's a programme, and it's competition," Hughton said. "At this moment I have a lot of competition for places. This type of game is physically demanding.

"Not that we've run any harder than Chelsea, but mentally it's tougher when you know the opposition will have more of the ball and you have to close them down.

"We have competition in the squad, so it's an opportunity to use that."

Albion are still 12th but their cushion above the relegation has been trimmed by a point to four.