At his pre-match press conference, Chris Hughton spoke about guarding against complacency, Albion’s record against the top teams, Bournemouth’s progress under Eddie Howe and refutes the claims that Kazenga LuaLua is an impact player in the squad.
Guarding against complacency: “There’s no danger of that in the players’ minds because we’ve continued to make them aware that our objective is to finish this season as strong as possible.
“On the back of both of these defeats [v Norwich and Rotherham], the same message has been put across to them.
“There have been some ups and downs in the period of time I’ve been here, but what we have managed to do is create a gap between ourselves and that bottom three.
“We know that it can change quickly over a couple of games and we need to get back to winning ways.”
Albion’s record against the top clubs: “For 20 minutes in the second half against Derby, we had to be very resolute to stay in that game and if they scored at that particular time, then it would have been difficult for us to get the three points.
“It was similar in the game Norwich – for that first 20 minutes, we found it difficult to get close to them and we had to be resilient once again.
“It is natural for teams to raise their game against the top clubs – but I wouldn’t like the players to see it that way, as we prepare for every game in exactly the same way.
“Now we are looking forward to Bournemouth coming here. They have had a fantastic season so far, especially with the number of goals they’ve scored. We know what our game plan has to be and that we’ve got to play well enough on the night to get a result.”
Bournemouth’s progress under Eddie Howe: “He’s done an exceptional job. Many people thought it would be difficult to sustain the position they’re in, given the size of the club and the squad that they’ve got. In that sense, they’ve been fortunate to keep most of their squad fit this season.
“They also have to be praised for the way they have played to get to where they are in the league. It’s not as though they’ve got there by putting a lot of bodies behind the ball or securing 1-0 wins.
“What they have done is be very entertaining, scored lots of goals and been a real threat even away from home.”
Kazenga LuaLua used as an impact player: “I knew Kazenga [LuaLua] years back in my time at Newcastle when he was a younger player. There have been periods of his time here where you could say he was an impact player, but I wouldn’t like to categorise anyone like that.
“It’s my responsibility to get the best out of him on a more consistent basis and I don’t know too many players in my time that you would only think about as an impact player. Maybe at times some of their best work has been after coming off the bench, but a player can also have an impact on the game in the first 45 minutes as well.
“It’s something for me to determine. He had been out for a period of time and sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get back to the level you would like after an injury.”