Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says he’ll be looking for a reaction from his players when they host Cardiff City at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Seagulls were on the wrong end of a heavy defeat to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday on home soil, and the Albion boss is looking for a contrasting performance when the Bluebirds visit the south coast tomorrow evening.
He said, “It’s a big match and the fact we didn’t get a result at the weekend makes it even more important – but I think it was always going to be a significant game.
“When you’re playing against sides in the same sort of area of the table, they become the matches that have a little bit more importance in people’s eyes.
“The players have reacted well, we had a meeting on Sunday and went through the game and the goals we conceded – if I look at this season it was our worst performance, but this is football and there isn’t one player in that dressing room who hasn’t had a bad defeat.
“It’s about how you respond to that, it’s the ups and downs of the sport, and I expect a reaction from our players.”
Hughton highlighted that he knows the side will be keen to make amends for Saturday’s result, and spoke of the quickfire opportunity to do so in front of the home fans.
“We’re playing in a very competitive league, we’re still newcomers as such and it’s about adjusting to the qualities of the opposition,” the manager continued.
“We haven’t scored enough goals – but we’re not far away from the two good wins we had in March and a good performance at Wembley Stadium, those are the areas as a side that you have to take forward.
“The good thing about the game is that you always get another opportunity. Tuesday evening is a quick chance to turn things around – there will never be any excuses here and if we’re on our game then we have every chance of being in matches.
“I don’t think there will be any difficulty in lifting the players – they are the most important ones in this and they will want to prove a point on Tuesday and show an attitude that says they were disappointed.”
The manager also reflected on the manner in which his team sealed survival during last season, and pointed to every game between now and the end of the campaign as being vital in order to preserve their top-flight status.
“Everybody knows how important the remaining matches are between now and the end of the season – last season we secured our status in the division with two games to go.
“This is not unfamiliar territory because we are a club that’s new to this league and we’re fighting with the quality of this league – every game for us is a big one.
“Recent results have made Tuesday bigger, we’re all aware of what the game means and what the next five after that will mean – we’ll give everything for the rest of the season to get the results that we need.”