Albion's manager reflected on a hard-fought victory.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton praised the determination shown by his side in tonight’s 4-2 victory at Oxford United, and singled out the younger players for their impressive performances.
Sam Adekugbe gave the Seagulls an early lead, before Wes Thomas levelled the scoreline, and Hughton was happy with the second-half reaction he got from his players, as they went on to convincingly progress.
He said, “I’m delighted. We made a lot of changes, had some young lads play and it was a great experience for them.
“I thought we showed great character at 1-1. I don’t think we should have allowed the game to have got to that stage, because we had some really good chances.
“But they are a side that weren’t going to lie down and showed some real quality.
“At 1-1 it was a big test for us, but we came through it and also managed to get more goals.”
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Hughton was pleased with Albion’s attacking intent and felt that the under-23 players involved on the night seized their opportunities in the first team.
“You’re always delighted to get into goalscoring positions, but very early on we missed a really good opportunity that would have seen us go 2-0 up in the first few minutes of the game.
“But it was a good start, and any kind of nervousness that anyone may have had, I think disappeared at that moment.
“I thought some of our football was very good. It was a tough test, because they are a really good side. It was a good experience for some of the younger players, and valuable minutes for those pushing for the first team.
“We were very good at home to Colchester, and I had to think very hard because this is a competition that we want to stay in.
“There were three young players in defence and Rohan Ince, who we all know is a central midfielder.
“So there was certainly an imbalance with regards to experience, but this is the only way that they’re going to get it and prove they’re worthy of a place in the first team.”
Uwe Huenemeier made his return from a long-term injury at the Kassam Stadium, and the Albion boss was overjoyed to see the German playing again.
“I’m delighted to have him back. When you’re a player that’s been out for a long period of time, you’re desperate to get back playing.
“It’s good to see him back on the pitch, it gives us really good options again, but I’m more delighted for him.”