Pascal Gross was impressed with Max Sanders’ composed debut in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Preston – but not surprised.
Sanders, 21, produced an eye-catching performance in a 2-0 win at Deepdale which set up a fourth-round game at the Amex next week.
“He’s a really good player,” said Gross. “The experience he had on loan last season [at AFC Wimbledon] helped him and I see his qualities every day in training. He is confident and good with the ball and against Preston he showed that.”
Gross was captain on his 100th appearance for the club and while he was proud to wear the armband, winning the game was more important.
“It is good to make 100 games for a club like Brighton, and a nice moment for me. But the most important thing is that we won the game and we can look forward to playing Manchester United.
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“In the second half we played some good football, scored two goals and defended well, not giving big chances away. With so many young players in the team I think it was a good day for Brighton. It was nice to be captain of a group like that.”
Next week’s cup tie follows a Premier League meeting with United at the Amex on Saturday. Gross is relishing the prospect, but admits not having two sold-out crowds to cheer the team on is disappointing.
“Manchester United without fans is a little sad but these are the times we live in,” he added. “We are getting used to it, but you have to motivate yourself a bit more and sometimes which can be difficult because there are times in the game when the fans will lift you, especially at home.
“But the results in the last week prove we have a good squad. We should believe we can win both games against United.”