Thomas Frank rued a disappointing first half display after his Brentford side slipped to a Boxing Day defeat at Brighton.

The Seagulls were without a win in 12 Premier League games but two fine finishes in the space of eight minutes from Leandro Trossard and former Bees star Neal Maupay settled the outcome on the south coast.

Brentford improved after the break but Shandon Baptiste and Ethan Pinnock both saw efforts well saved by Robert Sanchez as the hosts held firm.

"It was flat - the first half,” Frank said. “The level on the ball was bad. We gave it away too many times.

"The first five or 10 minutes was quite good but then they got on top of the game and the crucial moment of the game was where they scored a little bit out of nothing. After that we were not staying in the game and then a brilliant finish by Neal [Maupay].

"We stepped up in the second half but not massively. If you look at it overall if we took our chances a draw would have been a fair result but overall we didn't take our chances.”

The Bees remain nine points clear of the bottom three – though 18th-placed Burnley have two games in hand – and Frank is pleased with how his side have adapted to their maiden Premier League season.

Arguably their biggest test yet is just around the corner, with champions and leaders Manchester City visiting on Wednesday, and the Dane is looking forward to pitting his wits against Pep Guardiola.

"It is definitely a fair opening [return of 20 points] and I think we could have had more points,” he said.

““We’re playing against the team in the division with potentially the biggest budget, definitely one of them, and I think the greatest manager of the modern era,” he said.

“Definitely unbelievable players and a very good, specific style of play that makes it quite difficult for a team like us to try to get something out of it because they are so good at keeping the ball.

“They almost never risk it – of course you can do a little bit of a counter – so it’s going to be very difficult.

“(Guardiola’s) a very innovative coach, always tweaking the positions. The way they build up from behind and the way they keep the ball and the breakthroughs, it’s something I’ve been studying for years.

“It’s difficult to copy, you need decent players, but it’s nice to get inspiration from that.”