Brighton boss Graham Potter hailed teenage sensation Tariq Lamptey after watching him torment Newcastle.
Neil Maupay’s double and a late third goal from Aaron Connolly clinched a well deserved 3-0 win for the Seagulls on Tyneside, but it was 19-year-old wing-back Lamptey who lit up an empty St James’ Park.
He who won the early penalty from which Maupay opened the scoring and troubled Alan Saint-Maximin and Jamal Lewis down the Magpies left before producing a potentially goal-saving tackle at the other end to keep the home side on the back foot.
Asked about the excitement surrounding the youngster, a delighted Potter said: “It’s just his age and the way he plays, the way he looks on the pitch and just how refreshing he is.
“But he’s such a grounded boy, he’s such a level-headed character – I don’t think I’ve met anybody quite like him, in fairness, in terms of how humble he is.
“I’ve got no concerns for him in terms of what the outside noise says. He just wants to help the team, he wants to do well for himself and his family. He’s just a fantastic character.
“He’s got such electric pace, but lots of players have that. It’s having the ability to run in behind. The ability to run into space is often what separates players.
“Tariq does that, but he’s got courage, he does his defensive work. The boys love him and he’s in a good place.”
Lamptey helped to get the visitors off to the perfect start when he was upended by Saint-Maximin after he had surged into the penalty area, and Maupay netted from the spot.
The game was only seven minutes old when Maupay doubled his tally from Leandro Trossard’s cross, although he needed the help of a VAR review after the flag had gone up.
Newcastle were hapless and a shadow of the side which won 2-0 at West Ham last weekend, and although they improved marginally after the break, Connolly’s sumptuous late strike wrapped up the points with Yves Bissouma’s red card for an ugly challenge which left Lewis with a cut eye the only blemish.
Potter said: “We’re delighted with our clean sheet, delighted with three goals and three points away from home in the Premier League.”
Opposite number Steve Bruce questioned the penalty decision, but had no complaints over the outcome after witnessing a horror show which he knows will spark a tide of criticism.
He said: “We’ve been beaten badly at home, so we have to accept what’s coming. That’s the thing about playing for a big club. You can’t go up and down which, unfortunately in the 15, 16 months I’ve been here, that seems to happen.
“We’ve gone from having a really decent week where everybody is positive to throwing in a hand grenade like that, so we have to accept what’s coming.
“We have to accept that we weren’t good enough, we have to accept that we were sloppy in our defending and the way we started the game.”