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SIDWELL'S PLAY-OFF PAIN

6 July 2016

Steve Sidwell reflected on a frustrating end to last season.


Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell has revealed he played through the pain in last season's play-off semi-final, such was his desire to help the Seagulls through to Wembley, but also to help secure a future at the club.

Sidwell picked up the knee injury, from which he's now fully recovered, during the first half of Albion's play-off semi-final first-leg tie against Sheffield Wednesday, after a clash with goalkeeper Kieran Lee. 

Speaking at Albion's pre-season training base in Tenerife, he told Seagulls Player, "It was tough; in the first game I knew when I went up and clashed with the keeper, that it was something serious.

"I tried to go through it and got in at half-time, which is sometimes the worst thing because it stiffens up. I knew for the sake of the team that I had to come off in the second half, which for me to say that, was very tough.

"Then I had two days' recovery time, with a lot of painkillers and drugs, lots of rehab done with the physios and doctors. They did magnificently well to get me out on the pitch and actually looking back on it and talking to the staff now, God knows how I played that game.
 
"Sometimes it happens and it was a bit of a gamble really. I sat down with the gaffer beforehand and I said, 'Look I'm not 100%, I feel good at around 90%. If you want to put Crofty or Richie Towell in, then that's cool, but I'm putting myself down to play.'

"It was important for me to play well because if I was going to leave, I wanted to end on a high note, but I wanted to put in a performance that was going to stick in the mind of the manager, the board and the chairman to say he's someone good around the place that we can have for next season."

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Reflecting on the night, Sidwell says the atmosphere generated by the Albion fans is something which will stay with him, and the energy the team took from it was a major factor behind the team's performance.

"We came out the blocks and the fans and the atmosphere was incredible. Even now, you just get goose bumps talking about it, it was just a one-off feeling. How we just got the one goal in the first half is beyond me.

"Brighton fans probably got together and thought, they got behind their team, we need to do it with ours. That really did drive us on and it was just a shame because we as players wanted to do it for the fans and the football club. We missed out by just a whisker, but this year we’ll hopefully go that one step beyond."

Watch the full interview with Steve Sidwell on Seagulls Player.

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