Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk was delighted to conclude a positive year for his team with a 4-2 victory over West Ham United, and praised his players for being clinical in front of goal.
The Seagulls bounced back from their 1-0 loss to Leicester City on Monday to move into third position in the Premier League 2 Division 1, and Rusk reflected on their hard-earned victory over the Hammers.
He said, “It was a really good win against a West Ham side that have individuals that can cause you problems. It was an extension of large aspects of the game against Leicester the other night.
“I thought we were really unfortunate and didn’t deserve to lose the game against Leicester with some of our offensive play in the first half.
“Today’s game was exactly the same, but we added goals to that creative play. After going 3-0 up, we probably should have gone four or five goals up.
“West Ham managed to nick a goal back at a crucial stage of the game, and then obviously momentum swung their way in the second half and they got another.
“We had to dig in and show some character, which we know we’ve got. In the end it was a good win, bouncing back from defeat the other night.”
Anders Dreyer opened the scoring before Leo Ostigard headed home twice to make it 3-0, but West Ham pulled back two goals to reduce Albion’s advantage heading into the closing stages.
Viktor Gyokeres was able to wrap up victory with a fourth goal in stoppage time, but Rusk assessed the spell of pressure his team had to deal with seal maximum points.
“It’s not easy when momentum swings away from you — goals change games and that was definitely the case today.
“But I think it’s right that we focus in on the things we did really well today. We had some really good pressure in the first half and fully deserved our 3-0 lead.
“We had to concentrate towards the end and defend our box, and I think we did that and thoroughly deserved the win.”
The Seagulls rounded off 2018 with victory over the Hammers, and Rusk was pleased to end the year on a positive note, following a successful 12 months that included promotion to the top flight.
“It’s nice to finish off what’s been a really good 2018 for the under-23s. The players can now have a very short break and carry their confidence into 2019.”