Albion's under-23 coach is now looking forward to the next two matches in the competition.
Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk says his players can only benefit from competing in the Checkatrade Trophy, and is targeting a place in the knock-out stages of the competition.
Despite a 2-0 defeat to Southend on Tuesday, Rusk saw a wholehearted display from his side and has challenged the players to pick up maximum points in their next two games against Stevenage and Leyton Orient.
He said, “The one thing we want to do is improve on what we did last year. After Tuesday’s game, I said to the boys ‘let’s try to win the next two games and get out of the group'.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to think why we can’t do it after that game.
“Obviously there are certain things that we need to do to improve and it’s a tournament we want to do well in.”
LATEST NEWS FROM SEAGULLS.CO.UK
- REPORT: NEWCASTLE 2 ALBION 0
- MARCH PLEASED WITH COMEBACK
- HOLLA LEAVES ALBION
- DUFFY DEAL DONE
- TRANSFER ROUND-UP
The under-23 coach believes this competition will help his squad adapt to competing in a first-team environment, which comes with added scrutiny.
“It wasn’t a sell-out crowd, but it’s a game that really matters and it’s another step up for these players.
“There’s a different set of rules when you play in front of a crowd; you might have a bit of pressure and you might have a bit of stick from opposition supporters.
“You might not be used to it until you experience it. Everyone in there from the under-23s will come out of it with a bit more experience.
“I had a chat with Paul Barber a couple of weeks ago and he said that it’s great to be in it for the players and for the staff too.
“We’re learning all the time. I had a nice taste of being in and around the first team last season where I learned loads, and that’s helped me in terms of how I function in a tournament like this.
“It’s one that at as an academy we’ll only benefit from.”
Tweets by @OfficialBHAFC