Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 assistant coach Shannon Ruth believes the players must thrive on the opportunity European football provides, as they open their Premier League International Cup schedule against Everton this evening.
The Seagulls make their debut in the competition against the Toffees, and Ruth highlighted the exciting prospect that lies ahead, as they take on the Merseyside club before meeting sides from Portugal and Germany.
He said, “It’s another wonderful challenge. We’re obviously aware of Everton's qualities as we played them towards the back end of last season and they’re now in our division.
“We’re then playing the likes of Benfica and Bayern Munich, which means the type of player and type of philosophy we are up against can be very different.
“Every player wants to be involved in a European game of some sort, and that’s exactly what this is. We’re definitely going in the right direction in terms of our performances and these types of games become another part of the players’ journey.”
Albion have made an unbeaten start to life in the Premier League 2 Division 1, and Ruth insists the team remain focused on extending their impressive start with another positive result on the south coast.
“No matter what competition we’re playing in, as a group of players and staff, to be part of a team that’s doing well benefits everybody.
“We’re all aware that winning a cup game can positively impact your league form.
“Likewise, if you’re doing well in the league, you can use the cup competitions to continue that momentum and keep that winning mentality strong.
“It’s about educating our players that games come thick and fast. If you want to play first-team football, it can be relentless and they have to challenge themselves to keep up with that.”
Simon Rusk’s team are unbeaten in 15 consecutive league matches, and Ruth admitted the eye-catching run of form hasn’t gone unnoticed, after avoiding defeat in their opening five league games.
“As staff, we have said ‘if we ever get on another run like this again, we’ll be very fortunate’.
“We haven’t underestimated the achievement of this run, we’ve expressed our delight and given a lot of credit to the players.
“Momentum is an amazing thing. You can’t always put your finger on how or why, but there’s no better feeling than going into a game with the confidence that you’re going to come out with something.”