CHRIS HUGHTON explained the reasons behind his changed formation against Ipswich Town and praised the performance of Rajiv van La Parra, in what could be his last appearance for the club.
The Albion manager elected to deploy a 4-3-3 formation, which he believes reaped dividends in the Boxing Day clash with Brentford in particular.
He said, “The system last night was more because of the options that we had and the ones that we could start.
“We couldn’t start Bobby [Zamora] and we couldn’t start James [Wilson], who had been not feeling too good.
“We had to take James off at half-time at Brentford as he has been struggling the last few days.
“It was a system that had fared us well, certainly in the second half at Brentford where we had good control of the game.
“It probably gave us more opportunities to go and win the game, so we started that way last night and I felt it could work well, given the way Ipswich play."
Hughton hailed the performance of Rajiv van La Parra and has been delighted with the Dutchman’s efforts during his brief loan spell.
“Rajiv was excellent in his endeavours. The only thing that we did not do was get enough from him in terms of an end product.
“He certainly could not have worked any harder than what he did and he certainly could not have got in any more crosses than what he did.
“Unfortunately for us we didn’t get enough from it, but he has been good for us in the period of time that he has been here. We've needed him because of the injury to Solly [March].”
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MICK MCCARTHY hailed the significance of last night’s 1-0 victory over Brighton, as the side equalled a club record of winning five consecutive away games.
Daryl Murphy’s seventh goal of the season was enough to claim all three points for the Tractor Boys.
He told eadt.co.uk, “We’ve managed to beat one of the big boys, one of the top six. Our record against those teams hadn’t been good up until now.
“We beat Burnley but we caught them on the hop early on. Since then we’ve lost to Brighton, Derby, Middlesbrough and Hull.
“I did think we had a bit of an opportunity tonight here though because they are depleted a bit and we’ve been playing well. I fancied us.
“I watched them on Saturday, saw them go to 4-3-3 in the second half (of a 0-0 draw at Brentford) and I suspected they might start that way so I set us up for that. Tactically it worked and I thought we were the better side.
“They’ll probably look at the stats and say they had a lot of ball possession and a lot of shots, but I can’t remember Gerks (Dean Gerken) making too many saves. We hit the crossbar and post and had the better chances.”
The Yorkshireman singled out goalkeeper Gerken for praise, after the shot-stopper’s superb save from Dale Stephens’s audacious back-heeled attempt, before Jamie Murphy’s strike on the rebound was controversially ruled out for offside.
“He’s a good keeper. I know he had a few doubters when we weren’t winning as many games and conceding goals, but he wasn’t at fault then and he’s been terrific.”