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Poyet Praises Players

26 January 2013

Gus Poyet commended his side on their performance against Arsenal…

Gus Poyet praised his Albion players following their gallant effort against top-flight Arsenal.

Albion twice fought back through Ashley Barnes and debutant Leonardo Ulloa, before the Gunners won the tie with a late effort from Theo Walcott which cannoned off Adam El-Abd and into the back of the net.

Yet the Seagulls more than matched their illustrious opponents and were unlucky not to secure a replay at the Emirates.

Poyet told, “It was a great effort from the lads and much better than when we played Liverpool last year in the FA Cup, when we panicked.

“We didn’t do that this time, which meant we competed better and we therefore stayed in the game for longer. We have good players in our division but today we were against better and stronger players so it wasn’t easy.

“But if we analyse the whole game then we have to be pleased. We tried our best but we were unlucky with injuries and couldn’t make the changes from the bench that we had planned .

“That went against us, and then we only lost to a deflected shot so it just wasn’t to be. We were more disappointed in the dressing room afterwards than we should be, but I’m calm about it. We competed well, played some good football and our new striker scored a goal.”

Albion were forced to reshuffle when skipper Gordon Greer and Will Buckley both sustained hamstring injuries in the first half. It meant Inigo Calderon switching to centre-half with the attack-minded David Lopez filling in at right-back.

“We had hoped to give Vicente half an hour or maybe Andrea Orlandi, who has played a lot of football lately, but we were forced into other changes much earlier and this affected the whole dynamic of the team.

“They were then able to bring on Walcott and Wilshere who were fresh, but to only lose so late in the game is to the credit of the players. As I have said many times before, we are a better team than last year and this experience can only help the players.

“It was a good experience for the fans too and it’s just a shame we couldn’t give them something special in the end. That special moment went with the deflection, which seems to be happening to us too much this season.”

Poyet singled out debutant Ulloa, whose diving header pulled the scores back to 2-2.

“He is lively in the box and brings us presence and strength, which we didn’t have before.

“He gives us a lot in the air, so we need to improve our delivery, but he certainly gives us options.

“I was delighted that he scored because for a striker, when you’re making your debut and against a big team, it’s important you take your chance when it’s given to you. He did just that and we look forward to seeing him here for many years.”

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