Maty Ryan’s Brighton & Hove Albion are perilously close to the relegation zone in the English Premier League after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at home against Cardiff City on Wednesday morning (AEST).
There was little the Caltex Socceroos gloveman could do to keep out a goal in each half from Bluebirds pair Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Sean Morrison.
The result means Brighton remain in 17th spot – just outside the drop zone – two points clear of Cardiff in 18th, with five games to play.
The only bright spot for the Seagulls is they have a game in hand on Cardiff, who have four still to play, including clashes against Liverpool and Manchester United.
Brighton have endured a torrid run since the turn of the year, with only already relegated Fulham (six) and Huddersfield (four) collecting fewer points than the Seagulls (eight) in 2019.
The loss to Cardiff was their third in a row at home in the league, coming just a few days after their 5-0 capitulation against Bournemouth at the weekend.
“We’ve always had a battle on our hands, we’re a young team in this division and there’s going to be highs and lows,” Brighton boss Chris Hughton said.
“At this moment it’s a low, particularly because of the last two defeats at home, but we have no choice but to get on with it, roll our sleeves up and show the quality that we’ve got.
“It’s still very much in our own hands and that’s the way we have to look at it. It’s been a huge disappointment for us, particularly at home, but we have to find a way around this.
“We need to make sure we show the quality that we know we have, the fighting spirit that we know we have and the togetherness we have and take that into these final games.”
Ryan and his teammates will have to pick themselves up quickly for a trip to high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend.
They also have to play Tottenham (a), Newcastle United (h), Arsenal (a) and Manchester City (h) in a hugely difficult end to the campaign.
Player FeaturesSee more
The proud Caltex Socceroos moment that went beyond Behich's childhood dreams
He's one of the most experienced players in Graham Arnold's squad and Aziz Behich is relishing the chance to assume more of a leadership role on the Caltex Socceroos' journey to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022?. Behich has 36 senior caps to his name, with only six other players
The bold move that helped re-ignite Smith’s Caltex Socceroos career
Brad Smith admits he had doubts whether America's Major League Soccer was the right place to kick-start his career when Seattle Sounders came calling a little over 12 months ago. The Caltex Socceroos left-back, who debuted in the Premier League with Liverpool as a teenager in
From Adelaide to Germany: Borrello’s constant reminder of his Caltex Socceroos goal
From watching TV as a kid to lacing up his boots on the other side of the world - Brandon Borrello has always been aware of his Caltex Socceroos destiny. Freiburg SC attacker Borrello made his Caltex Socceroos bow in the June friendly against Korea Republic in Busan, something