Graham Potter thanked the Brighton fans for their “fantastic” reaction towards Neal Maupay after the forward’s penalty miss ensured the Seagulls fired another blank in a 0-0 draw with Norwich.
Maupay blazed over from the spot in the 29th minute following Sam Byram’s handball and some mind games by Canaries goalkeeper Tim Krul, and then after the break hit the side-netting from close range before steering another effort wide late on.
Boss Potter replaced Maupay after that third and final miss and saw the home fans inside the Amex Stadium give a long round of applause to the club’s top goalscorer as he walked around the pitch.
“As you can imagine he is disappointed like the rest of us,” the Brighton boss said of the striker. “It wasn’t his day today and it happens, that’s life.
“I thought the reaction of the supporters was fantastic with him, that was really good.
“A huge thank you to them for that because he gave everything in the game but it just wasn’t his day. That happens but it will be his day another day.”
The Seagulls dominated throughout against their bottom-of-the-table opponents and had 31 shots overall, but this stalemate means they have not scored in front of their supporters since January 18.
Handling the fragile confidence of Maupay, who has found the net on nine occasions this season, will be key to Brighton’s efforts of trying to officially confirm safety this month.
“Neal is a human being, he will be low tonight of course and that is normal, it is natural, but he has had these experiences before,” Potter insisted.
“I think it was Leeds he missed a couple of chances and the following game (against West Ham) he scored – that is the life of a striker.
“He has to deal with that, but he has the support of us, the support of his team and the support of the supporters which was really important, so he will bounce back.”
This goalless stalemate at least ended Brighton’s run of six consecutive defeats and saw them move onto 34 points.
Potter added: “In the last six games, perhaps maybe Newcastle, our level dropped a little bit I think for different reasons.
“Today I can’t really complain about the overall performance apart from the last bit, so that is positive for us.”
Norwich were on an equally poor run but need wins in their battle to avoid relegation and saw Milot Rashica – fresh from scoring for Kosovo against Burkina Faso and Switzerland in March – volley over an excellent chance late on.
“When we finally put some passing moves together and showed what we could do, unfortunately on the back of two goals for his country, Milot puts it over the crossbar,” Canaries boss Dean Smith said.
“It wasn’t a great game, I didn’t think. I thought there were an awful lot of unforced errors. We are a group of players who are good footballers, but they are making some poor decisions at the moment on the ball.
“Off the ball we showed our spirit and doggedness at times, especially our captain (Grant Hanley) and goalkeeper who I thought were excellent.
“I know Brighton have had an awful lot of ball and shots but probably 20 of them were outside the box, which is where you want the opposition shooting from.”