Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk highlighted the work ethic his team showed during their 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur last night, as the Seagulls continued their unbeaten start to the season.
The Seagulls followed up their back-to-back draws against Liverpool and Arsenal with another share of the spoils against Spurs, and Rusk was delighted with the commitment his players showed in and out of possession.
“We’ve had three games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham - a strong Tottenham side - and to come out undefeated from those games is pleasing for the team.
“All of the games could have gone either way. We could have quite easily pinched a couple of wins.
“Overall, the work ethic from the players and their commitment has been great. We’ve had three solid performances and results.”
Viktor Gyokeres fired Albion in front at the Lamex Stadium, before the hosts equalised after the break, and Rusk admitted catching Spurs on the break was something his team had prepared for.
“Especially in the first half, we knew they were comfortable on the ball and had a good blend of technical and physical ability.
“We knew we’d have to be compact, particularly around our own box. But you can’t solve everything and you’re going to give a little bit of the game away in possession.
“We felt we’d get an opportunity to hurt them on the break. It was a good bit of defending from the team, a good bit of calmness from Mathias Normann and then Aaron Connolly and Viktor [Gyokeres] combined well to score a wonderful goal.
“It was part of the game plan, but there was also a lot of work to do after that, especially without the ball.”
Albion host Manchester City in the league next Friday, before coming up against Luton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy, and Rusk commented on the increase in quality his team are noticing this season.
“These are hard games for us but we’re in them. We’re learning that the fine margins matter in this league - if you get good chances, you’ve got to bury them.
“You’ve got to be clinical, and equally when you’re defending, if you don’t concentrate and make the wrong decisions, you can get punished.
“That’s the challenge we wanted. Overall, taking everything into consideration, we have to be satisfied with the way we’ve started.
“The games have been tight and we want to be a hard team to beat - that’s a principle that’s important to us. That’s certainly been the case so far.”