Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk highlighted the mixture of discipline and quality that his team showed to come from behind and seal a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers last night.
Ben Barclay headed the winning goal in the 89th minute after Aaron Connolly had brought the Seagulls level, and Rusk was delighted with the patience shown by his players to remain in the contest.
“You have to stay in the game and remain disciplined. That gave them the chance and it’s been one of the things that we’ve been very good at this year.
“It was a really difficult game. Credit to Blackburn — with the 3-4-3 system they play and the system we played, we knew there might have been moments that caused us one or two problems.
“We obviously conceded a very early goal and that did change the feel of the game. But I have to say we really came out in the second half and scored two high-quality goals.
“Maybe Blackburn will feel like they deserve something out of the game, but it was a very resilient win from my team and we had some quality moments in the second half.”
Albion struggled to find their rhythm before the break at the Amex Stadium, and Rusk revealed the improvements he demanded from his team in the second half.
“We needed to be a little bit tougher at the right times. I thought there were some 50-50's and we perhaps weren’t coming out with the ball on enough of them.
“There were too many moments where Blackburn turned the ball in their favour when the game was tight.
“I felt we needed to be a little more efficient with how we moved the ball around their back five and midfield four — I think we were a little bit slow and predictable.
“Second half we just wanted a little bit more out of the players, in terms of intensity and speed of thought on the ball. Just a bit more bite about us and more energy at the right times.”
Barclay netted his second goal of the campaign to earn the Seagulls all three points against Rovers, and Rusk expressed his delight for the defender, who has worn the captain's armband for Albion this season.
“Ben has done well — it was a really good delivery from Jordan [Davies] and Ben got great contact on the ball. It’s a great goal and one that Ben deserves.
“He’s been here a little while and it hasn’t always been straight forward for him, in terms of injuries.
“Seeing him play some games and put some form together is really encouraging for his career moving forward.”