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RUSK PLEASED WITH DEFENSIVE RESILIENCE

12 March 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk.

Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon rusk praised his team for showing their defensive capabilities against Middlesbrough on Friday evening, before finding the goals to secure an impressive 3-0 victory at Heritage Park.

The Seagulls climbed into third position in the Premier League 2 Division 2, following goals from Viktor Gyokeres, Henrik Bjordal and Ben Barclay, but Rusk was quick to highlight his team’s resolute defensive display.

He said, “Middlesbrough made a good start to the game, put us under a lot of pressure with high energy - they put a lot of crosses into our box and we had to defend really hard for the first 25 minutes.

“But we did that very well and adjusted to one or two things, tactically. I thought we were very good value for our win in the end, it was a very strong performance away from home.

“I have to give the boys credit for showing resilience at the start of the game, and then as we went on, we scored some really good goals.

“We’ve proven in the last few games that we've got goals in us, but I didn’t want us to move away from our priorities, which was a clean sheet on the road.

“You have moments in games of football where you’re under the cosh, especially away from home, but you have to show character. We showed ours and that was a big contribution to us winning the game.”

Gyokeres opened the scoring in the ninth minute of the game, and Rusk admitted the Swede’s early goal helped settle his team into the game, before showing the quality required to extend their advantage.

“Away from home, an early goal always helps, especially when you’re under pressure. But we know that in the last third of the pitch, we can be clinical in front of goal.

“It wasn’t a surprise, it was a decent delivery into the box and Viktor found a little bit of space to tuck the ball away.

“The second goal, it was a good bit of brave centre-forward play for Viktor and then Henrik did what he needed to do in front of goal.

“We probably could have scored one or two more as the game went on - I thought we controlled it really well.”

Albion have just three league games remaining, as they find themselves in a battle to secure a play-off spot, and although Rusk’s side are in a promising position, he stressed the importance of remaining focused on short-term goals.

“It’s one performance at a time, we’re not getting carried away. We’ve got a short turnaround until Tuesday night against Pagham, and then a big game against Everton on Saturday.

“We’re pleased with the win and lots of the performances on the pitch, but the focus has to be on one game at a time.”


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