Conor Gallagher admits Chelsea’s players must accept blame and be self-critical after conceding Brighton “wanted it a bit more” during Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League thrashing at the Amex Stadium.
Graham Potter’s return to the south coast fired up a raucous home crowd and ended in embarrassment as his former club emphatically inflicted his maiden defeat as Blues boss.
Leandro Trossard’s early opener was followed by first-half own goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah before Pascal Gross completed Potter’s misery after Kai Havertz had given the visitors a glimmer of hope.
England midfielder Gallagher acknowledged Chelsea were well below the standards required as they fell to a first loss in the 10 games since the sacking of Thomas Tuchel.
“It’s a tough one to take,” the 22-year-old told his club’s website. “At the end of the day, we we’re not good enough individually or as a team.
“It seemed like they wanted it a bit more than us.
“We have to look at ourselves. We’re to blame and we are gutted, very disappointed in ourselves as a team as we know we’re so much more professional than that.
“Credit to Brighton, they were very good. They’re a top team, their fans were up for it.”
Potter and his coaching staff, who moved to Stamford Bridge seven weeks ago, faced jeers from the moment they stepped off the team coach in Sussex.
The 47-year-old guided Brighton to their first top-half finish in the top flight last term and had the club flying high in fourth position at the time of his departure.
His presence as pantomime villain fuelled a hostile environment under which the rampant hosts thrived and Chelsea ultimately wilted.
Yet, despite a dismal start in which they fell 2-0 behind inside 14 minutes, Gallagher twice went close to halving the deficit for the Blues, while Christian Pulisic squandered a golden chance.
“We were always in the game, even at half-time when we were three down,” said Gallagher.
“It shows we did have chances and I should have scored in the first half which could have changed the game. It didn’t go that way.
“But we need to defend better as a team.
“We shouldn’t be conceding that many goals so we’re very disappointed.
“We’re at fault. We need to look at the mistakes, learn from them, dust ourselves off and go again.”
Brighton stylishly registered a first win in six outings under Potter’s successor Roberto De Zerbi to record a maiden league success over Chelsea.
Belgium forward Trossard wants to take his fine form into the World Cup after claiming his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign.
“We have had some really good performances under the new head coach and all that was lacking was the win and we got it in a brilliant way,” Trossard told the Seagulls’ website.
“First half we were all over them, we had great chances and you can see that we have the potential to score a lot of goals.
“Hopefully I can carry on my form for a lot longer and into the World Cup. It’s my first, I want to enjoy it.”