Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says that the balancing act of rotation within his squad for tonight’s game against Tottenham Hotspur is an important factor to consider.
The Seagulls will contest their second of three games in the space of seven days when they travel to the capital and the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this evening, and the boss spoke about the importance of managing the workload of the personnel at his disposal during another three-game week.
He said, “You always have to find the right balances, we have three games in seven days again this week - it was a big shift from the side at the weekend, it was quite an emotional game too with the reaction.
“The game with Newcastle United will be our fifth in a fortnight and you have to take it all into consideration when fielding a team that is capable of getting something from the match.
“There’s a lot at stake at this stage of the season and ultimately at the end it’s about getting enough points to stay here – teams will do it in different ways.
“Some clubs can play free-flowing football with plenty of attacking options, and there’s a level of clubs where it’s going to be a fight – we are one of those sides. For a part of the season we got wins whilst not playing so well, we are still out of the bottom three with a good goal difference.”
The weekend saw Albion battle valiantly to secure what could prove to be a vital point in the race for top-flight survival against Wolves at Molineux, and the manager responded to criticism of the side’s perceived approach to the contest in the Midlands.
“Football is a game of opinions – we’ve probably gone for long periods in the season without criticism, people are entitled to their opinion, but the focus has to be on ourselves,” he continued.
“It’s at a stage of the season where we need results, there are lots of factors, but the players will be aware of some of the comments – bits like individual moments of quality are the areas that can or can’t happen – what you want to govern the most are what the side are prepared to put into the game.
“That’s about things like stopping the opposition and working hard for the team – the reaction we got after a couple of difficult results was very pleasing.
“Some aspects of our game weren’t as good as we would like at the weekend, but I certainly saw a team performance on Saturday that showed that they are desperate to be in this division.”
Hughton also spoke about the rigours of the division, and praised the work rate of his side over the course of the campaign so far.
“We have a group of players who have worked very hard over the course of this season – sometimes we’ve found it difficult to score goals, but we have been missing players too.
“Mostly I put the recent form down to the difficulty of the league – it’s difficult to sustain good form for long periods – we worked very hard at the weekend and that has to be the motivation now.
“You can use whatever people say to fire people up, but you mostly want that motivation to come from inside the changing room itself.”