Speaking to reporters after the match, Hughton confessed that his side made life tough for themselves due to their slow start in the East Midlands.
"Overall against Man City there were enough good parts of our game but, when you come here away from home, the last thing you want is to go 1-0 down so early," he said. "That's a big disappointment, particularly from our attack. It then becomes an uphill battle.
"We certainly weren't at the level we need to be on the ball but we stuck in there and at 1-0 you have always got a chance. Then it's difficult again when you concede from a set play, where we have got to be better. They were two soft goals and we are up against a team that have had great league experience in the last three years and what they achieved the season before.
"They never opened us up as much as they could have. Mathew [Ryan] never had to make the type of saves that keep us more in the game, so I felt there was an opportunity for us to play better, get some sort of input into the game."
Stretching back to last season, recently-promoted Brighton have now failed to score in four of their last five league outings.