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RUSK WANTS PLAYERS TO EMBRACE PRESSURE

10 January 2017

The under-23 coach looks ahead to tonight's Checkatrade Trophy tie.


Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk has challenged his side to embrace the pressure when they take on Coventry City in the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy this evening.

The Seagulls overcame AFC Wimbledon in the second round and face League One opposition again at the Ricoh Arena, and Rusk wants his players to rise to the occasion.

He said, “Pressure is part of professional football and with every game that you play, if you’ve got an element of pride, they’ll be a little bit of pressure.

“I think football is about embracing pressure and enjoying it, and that’s shown in how the players have tackled each game.

“There’s lots of benefits and I’m looking for what the players gain. What are they learning? Are they taking information on board and becoming a better player with that information? That’s what I’m looking for.”

Former Seagulls boss Russell Slade was appointed manager of the Sky Blues last month, and although Rusk is wary of Coventry’s threat, he urged his team to focus on their own strengths.

“They’ve got a new manager and they’ve had a long period of time without a game, so they’ll be going into the game with some good hours on the training pitch.

“They’re not fresh off a game Saturday, so whilst we’ll be armoured with some information, it won’t be what we’d normally have, but there are pros and cons to that.

“We want to bring to the table what we think our strengths are and that’s the same in every game that we play, you tweak and adapt things for every match.

“We always pay our opponents respect, do as much homework as we can and give the players the relevant information, but ultimately in any game of football you enter, you want to put your stamp on it.”

The Albion coach insists the preparations for tonight’s game will be no different to any other game, and reminded his team to remain professional and meet their own high standards.

“We won’t be treating this in any other way, we’ll turn up to be professional and prepared to try and win a game of football.

“It’s not a game we’ll approach in any other way than how we normally do. We’re professional in every game that we play, whether it’s the Premier League Cup, league or the Checkatrade Trophy.

“It’s a game we feel we can win if we perform to our best and that’s the message to the players. It’s our next game and that always means it’s your biggest game.”

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