Neal Maupay says he is fit and ready for regular Premier League action after his first Brighton start was ruined by a frustrating 2-0 home loss to Southampton.
French striker Maupay had limited pre-season preparation before joining Albion from Brentford for a reported £20million three days before the transfer deadline.
After one goal in two substitute appearances for Graham Potter’s side, the 23-year-old played the opening 74 minutes against Saints on Saturday.
Maupay admits the occasion was spoilt by the Seagulls’ first loss of the season but feels he is beginning to find his feet in the top flight.
“It was obviously nice to get my full debut and it was very exciting, but the team is always the most important thing,” Maupay told Albion’s website.
“A debut with a defeat is not the same, so it’s mixed emotions for me.
“The minutes on the field are important, I didn’t play during pre-season, so I’m still finding my rhythm in this league.
“I feel I’m ready now after starting for the first time and hopefully there will be many more starts to come for me.”
Brighton’s hopes of extending their unbeaten start under new manager Potter suffered a significant blow when Florin Andone was deservedly shown a 30th-minute red card for a dangerous tackle on Yan Valery.
Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk then had a header correctly ruled for an offside against fellow defender Dan Burn following a VAR review, before second-half strikes from Southampton pair Moussa Djenepo and Nathan Redmond inflicted defeat.
Saints winger Redmond, who signed a new four-year-contract earlier this month, hailed a crucial first three points of the campaign after successive defeats to Burnley and Liverpool.
“It’s massive, massive. I think after the start we had and coming up a little bit short last week, I think it was vital that we got three points,” Redmond told Southampton’s website.
Redmond, Saints’ leading scorer and player of the year last term, believes Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad contains plenty of firepower as the south-coast club attempt to avoid flirting with relegation for a third successive season.
“I’m trying to score as many goals as possible, but it’s about my work ethic for the team first and foremost,” added the once-capped England international.
“When we’ve got Ingsy (Danny Ings), Che (Adams), Moussa coming on and Sofiane (Boufal) coming on then you’ve got goals all around the front of the park.
“I think we’ll never be short for goals, I think we just have to work hard.”
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