The performance, result and opportunity for squad rotation culminated in a perfect day for boss Gus Poyet as Albion put Blackpool to the sword with a 6-1 victory at the Amex.
With Will Buckley, Kazenga LuaLua and Bruno back fit and Ashley Barnes returning from a seven-game suspension, Poyet was pleased with the options at his disposal, and he felt that the chance to play all of them will help the team in the long run.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We had the opportunity to score some great goals and when we were attacking we were very organised at the back. Apart from the unlucky own-goal it was a perfect day for us and the fans.
“We had sunshine, we had over 28,000 fans and people who were at home or couldn’t get a ticket will probably regret that because it was a day to be at the Amex.
“I also had the best bench that I have ever had as a manager and that makes a massive difference. When you have power, quality, speed and experience on the bench, and you win like that without using players like Vicente or Leo Ulloa is shows the quality of the squad.
“The early goal was probably the key to the game because Paul Ince’s teams set up in a very organised way and it’s very hard to score against them.
“They had only conceded three goals from the last six games and kept three clean sheets. If the game had gone on without us scoring they would have been very dangerous. It’s important to start well.
“You look at the score and it’s easy to forget how good Liam Bridcutt was, how important it was to play Ash, then to give Bruno 20 minutes and to give Kazenga LuaLua some minutes too. That only benefits the team in the long run.”
Poyet also hailed the Albion fans for their support of the club, as the Seagulls moved four points clear of seventh-placed Leicester City, requiring just one more win to guarantee a play-off finish.
“Our relationship has been outstanding since the time we created an identity and people saw Brighton as a different team.
“From the time we were growing up and getting better, I knew that I could count on the fans and that they will always be here supporting the team, because they enjoy watching us and they can see an opportunity for this club in the future. It was important to say thanks to them today because it was one of the best games from the two years that this stadium has been here.”
Meanwhile, Poyet said that Ashley Barnes is like a new player for the squad following his performance as he scored two goals with two more assists on his return to the side.
“I’m pleased for him because I know him and I know how much it hurt him being out for so long. I know how difficult it was to cope with seven games away and I know how much we missed him. He helps us with goals and by working hard to give us another option while defending.
“It was a great day to have Ashley Barnes back because Leo was very tired after Peterborough. Having Ash fresh and desperate to play made it the perfect game for us to use him.
“The first two weeks out were very difficult for him but recently he’s been so good in training and everything was going in for him, it was incredible, and that gave me the chance to give Leo a rest.
“His first touch was perfect, he made great decisions and he scored two goals. Everything went right for him and it’s like having a new player for the rest of the season.”