Albion boss Chris Hughton has defended the right of Premier League clubs to set up cautiously against the likes of runaway leaders Manchester City.

Rafa Benitez was criticised in some quarters, notably by Sky pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, for Newcastle's tactics in the 1-0 defeat by Pep Guardiola's champions-elect at St James' Park last night.

The 2-0 reverse against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day completed six defeats against the 'Big Six' for the Seagulls.

Hughton said: "Not everyone realises how difficult it is against the top six, particularly City at this moment and the way they can blow teams away.

"Everyone has the right to set their team up how they feel is the right way against what is certainly by far the best team in the country at the moment."

Newcastle will be more adventurous against Albion on Hughton's return to St James' Park on Saturday.

"I think it might be a little bit different to last night," Hughton said with a smile. "That was one game, the approach against us will be completely different.

"They are at home, and they will see us as one of the games they have more chance of winning.

"We are a team also just up from the Championship, we don't have the experience they do and they will see it as a game they can win.

"Newcastle are a team we know very well, we know they have a lot of quality.

"They haven't had the best of times of late but we know on a good day for them they can be a fairly formidable team, they have enough quality to make them very dangerous opponents."