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RUSK: WE MAINTAINED HIGH STANDARDS

10 February 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk.

Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk praised his players for showing maturity in their performance against Hull City, as they maintained high standards to record an impressive 3-0 victory in the Premier League Cup last night.

The Seagulls were awarded three penalties against the Tigers at Grange Lane, and kept their third clean sheet in a row - and Rusk was delighted to claim another three points, to extend their winning run to five matches.

He said, “I don’t think we’ve had what we've deserved over the first half of the season, but we’ve stuck at it, the boys’ attitude and belief has stayed there and it’s resulted in a couple of nice wins.

“We’re on a very good run and the team talk was very much about maintaining standards every week, because that’s what the top players do.

“They win a game and then maintain those standards, not taking anything for granted. Certainly from an attitude point of view, that was there to see in our performance.

“It was a tough game on a difficult pitch, so it was always going to be a scrappy one. But I felt the team concentrated hardest at key moments, and probably played the conditions the best.

“In the end, we got a few penalties for some good play in and around the box - and it turned out to be a very good win.”

Goals from George Cox, Steven Alzate and Aaron Connolly secured victory for Albion on a testing surface at Grange Lane, and Rusk felt the concentration shown by his team made the difference on the night.

“The pitch was the same for both teams, it was never going to be a game where one team gained full control of possession.

“What we did well was concentrate and defend when we needed to. That gave us that platform to allow the odd moment of quality to come out - and as the game went on, it did.

“The game became more stretched and we looked dangerous on the counter-attack, which we also learned about them from the first match down south, so we had to manage that aspect of the game.

“On the whole, I thought we did very well and it was a very committed, professional performance from the lads and a hard-fought win.”

Rusk had the luxury of changing Albion’s striking partnership in the second half, and he commented on the benefits of having healthy competition in the club’s under-23 team this season.

“It’s a case of finding that balance of giving everyone some game time but also having that level of competition - where if you play well, you get to keep the shirt.

“It’s always nice from our point of view - Aaron Connolly and Viktor [Gyokeres] came on, but also credit to Henrik [Bjordal], James Tilley and Steven Alzate who started the game.

“There’s healthy competition in there at the moment, and that can only be good for the team.”


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