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MANAGERS' VIEWS: HUGHTON AND BENITEZ

2 March 2017

The two managers reflect on Tuesday night's game.


CHRIS HUGHTON praised his team for staying within touching distance of Newcastle United so far this season, and touched upon the formidable form of the teams chasing promotion to the Premier League.

Hughton, who managed the Magpies between 2008 and 2010, complimented the new league leaders, but highlighted the competition his players have given the Tyneside club this campaign.

He said, “Most know the fondness that I have for Newcastle. They’re a wonderful side and it’s testament to our players that we’ve stayed so close to them for so much of the season.

“We’ll need to keep doing that. The closer we are to Newcastle, the better the chance we’ve got of going up.

“There are very good sides at the top of this division, and they’re sides that don’t look like losing too many games. Huddersfield are on a tremendous run at the moment.

“But every time you look at the fixture list, there are tough games for everybody. When Bristol City go to Newcastle and get a draw, it shows what this division is all about.”

Despite losing to Newcastle at the Amex, Hughton urged his players to remember their achievements up until this point, before switching his focus to Albion’s remaining fixtures.

“We have to take into account that before the game we were top of the division. It’s a defeat that sees us move one place down, and we must not take away the fact that it’s been a wonderful season so far.

“The team have done that because of the hard work they’ve put in all season. They know the league and know there’s going to be 12 tough games now.

“Where we end up at the end of the season is going to depend on how well we do in those 12 tough games.”

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RAFAEL BENITEZ was satisfied to see his team come from behind in the closing stages to secure three points against the Seagulls, but believes April could be the month in which the promotion picture takes shape.

The Magpies boss felt the strength of Albion’s team made the victory even sweeter on the south coast, as late goals from Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez cancelled out Glenn Murray’s opener.

He said, “It is pleasing to win that kind of game, and it is also pleasing to win by coming from behind. When you are able to do that against a very good team, it is always more satisfying.”

“It’s good to get three points away from home, on this pitch against good opposition. But I still have the same feeling I have always had – April will be crucial.”

Newcastle overtook the Seagulls and returned to the top of the Sky Bet Championship, and Benitez touched on the added pressure his players have to deal with throughout the season.

“For us, the pressure will always be the same. We approach every game trying to win, and that is not going to change.

“It’s not that we don’t have any pressure now. People will think, ‘It’s Newcastle United, we have to give everything to beat them’, and we still have to be able to deal with that.

“This result means we have confidence, but we still know the next few games will be difficult and dangerous.”

UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES

ALBION V DERBY COUNTY

FRIDAY 10TH MARCH, KICK-OFF 7.45PM


ALBION V BLACKBURN ROVERS

SATURDAY 1ST APRIL, KICK-OFF 3PM



ALBION V BIRMINGHAM CITY

TUESDAY 4TH APRIL, KICK-OFF 7.45PM


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