Brighton & Hove Albion striker Florin Andone believes that Tuesday evening’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium was the perfect night all round.
The Romanian striker scored a remarkable goal just before the break to give Chris Hughton’s side a three-goal cushion in spectacular circumstances, and he reflected on the memorable solo effort and the evening as a whole after a dramatic contest on the south coast.
He said, “Maybe I surprised the defender with my speed slightly because he didn’t know too much about me and I’m new in this division.
“I haven’t played too much, and it’s one of my biggest attributes – the last touch I didn’t have much space, but I managed to get some space and get a shot away.
“My goal was very important given how close it was to half-time, it was a bit of a surprise, but it was unbelievable to go in at the break three goals up in those circumstances.
“Being down to ten men meant we knew what we had to do in the second half in terms of managing the game – we kept the result well and it was a perfect day for us.
“Against Celta Vigo I didn’t have a victory from my memory, so this is my first derby victory in football and it feels fantastic.”
The goal was the forward’s second in as many matches after his match-winning header against Huddersfield Town four days earlier, and the summer arrival insists that his opportunity in the side in recent matches is one he’s worked hard to earn.
“I’ve been delighted with the start I’ve made to my career at this club, and to me every single minute is so vital. I know I have to take my chance when I can because of the fantastic form Glenn [Murray] has been in.
“He’s scoring a lot of goals, but I felt I deserved my opportunity because of how hard I’ve worked.
“The manager trusts me and I’m working hard for the team – the goal was great, but the most important thing is the three points because of how important this week and the month in general are for us with so many matches.”
The victory over Roy Hodgson’s men moved the Seagulls into the top half of the Premier League, into tenth position on 21 points, but the former Deportivo La Coruna man warned against complacency as he looked to the future.
“It’s always normal to look up when you’re in good form but we have to be careful, realistic and humble – we have to continue working hard every day.
“I’m happy for this side because we’re a very good team who work hard to keep our shape – there’s a good spirit here and I’m very happy.
“We can always improve, and I think the future will be even better – this is our ambition.”
Andone missed the start of his first season in England due to injury, as well as suffering from a spell on the sidelines at his previous club – and he emphasised how happy he was to be out on the field.
“It was hard for me at the start - I didn’t play for four months, but that’s in the past now and for me it’s about the future.
“My first two games have been very good, and I love to be back out on the pitch – it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I had a tough last few months in Deportivo before I moved here, and then I had problems when I arrived at Brighton, so for me it’s all about feeling good and the hard work must continue now.”