Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton and chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber, have issued a rallying cry ahead of tomorrow night’s important Premier League encounter against Cardiff City.
The Seagulls head into the game looking to put Saturday’s disappointing defeat to AFC Bournemouth behind them, knowing that victory against the Bluebirds will also open up an eight-point cushion between the two sides.
Speaking in the club’s matchday magazine, Hughton said, “The success we’ve built this club on since I’ve been here has been our togetherness, and with that in mind I know the fans will get right behind us, as they have done all season, and hopefully we can provide a far more positive performance and result for everyone to enjoy.
“We’ve had difficult periods in the season and the response, generally, has been good – the back-to-back wins against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace for instance – and now I expect, and the players expect, to see a reaction.
“We know the importance of Tuesday's fixture and one of the positives we can draw on from this difficult spell is the fact that we have – Anthony [Knockaert] aside – everyone available for selection. It’s imperative that we have as many players pushing hard for places between now and the end of the season.”
Barber added, “There are no excuses for Saturday’s hugely disappointing performance against AFC Bournemouth. Everyone was hurting over the weekend, not least our players, coaches and staff. It was a very bad day for us.
“At the highest levels of football, and particularly in the Premier League, even the smallest drop in standards is severely punished. We all know that. And the players, coaches and staff certainly know that.
“So, Tuesday's game is a test of our character – and our togetherness. We can’t afford to dwell on a very disappointing weekend, and our players and staff need your confidence and your support to help put things right.
“We’ve been tested before. We’ve overcome much bigger setbacks. A great strength of this football club is its ability to pull together at important times. I’m very sure our fans, players and staff will do so again.”
* Tuesday's matchday magazine will be available in and around the Amex Stadium, priced £3.50.