Brighton's Anthony Knockaert: Father's death the "toughest moment of my life"

Anthony Knockaert
Anthony Knockaert joined Brighton from Belgian side Standard Liege in January 2016

Brighton winger Anthony Knockaert hopes to regain top form soon following the death of his father, which he describes as "the toughest moment" of his life.

The former Leicester player's father Patrick passed away last month.

"It is still a bit tough for me but I am trying my best to be back at my level as soon as possible," 25-year-old Knockaert told BBC Sussex.

"The last two games I started weren't my best, but that is a normal thing. It was physically and mentally hard."

Knockaert missed the trip to Bristol City on 5 November following his father's death, aged 63, and Brighton players held up a shirt in support of the Frenchman during the celebrations after their first goal in their 2-0 win.

Several first-team players and Seagulls manager Chris Hughton then travelled to northern France to attend Patrick's funeral in a further show of support.

"The team have been great to me and brought me the best support they could. I'd like to thank them for what they did," Knockaert said.

"It has been the best thing I have seen in football, to come all the way from England to the funeral. It means a lot for me and my family and I will never forget it."

Brighton players
Brighton players held up a shirt in tribute to Knockaert while celebrating the first goal in their 2-0 win at Bristol City last month

'I need to make my dad prouder'

Knockaert has scored six goals in 18 appearances for Brighton this season, but was on the bench for Saturday's trip to Cardiff in what was his third match back for the Championship club.

He accepts he must work hard during challenging personal circumstances to return to his best.

"Some mornings are really hard as you think about it - I won't see my dad any more," he said.

"Obviously I need to get back to business and the best way to do it is work hard on the pitch and the gym to get my fitness back.

"I didn't do anything for three weeks in a row because I was in the hospital every day with my dad.

"I just need to keep working hard and make my dad even prouder than what he was."

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