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Club News


16 February 2019

Paul Hazlewood
Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk.

Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk highlighted the determination and focus shown by his players in their hard-fought 1-0 victory against Manchester City on Friday evening.

In a game of few chances for the Seagulls, Danny Cashman’s clinical first-half finish gave Rusk’s side a lead to protect, as they produced a disciplined performance to deny the attacking threat posed by the hosts.

The victory moved Albion to within one point of league leaders Everton, and Rusk assessed his team’s hard-working performance against the Citizens, which extended their unbeaten league run to five matches.

He said, “I think the spirit and attitude of the players was a really pleasing aspect. The players showed a tremendous attitude, and for that reason they absolutely deserved the win.

“There were large periods, particularly in the second half, where we had to defend, concentrate and work very hard.

“We chose to play a little bit deeper, and with the way we set up, we probably wanted to effect the game on the counter-attack.

“We obviously had to do a lot of defending without the ball, so the concentration levels, when you’re absorbing a lot of pressure, have got to be right.

“The back five in particular had to really concentrate towards the last 15 minutes of the game, when there were some talented Manchester City players asking lots of questions.”

Cashman’s match-winning goal came on his second appearance in the Premier League 2 Division 1, and Rusk praised the attitude shown by the forward and his team-mates, after five changes were made to the starting line-up.

“The players deserve a lot of credit. It’s been a bit of a disruptive preparation period, with players going on loan and supporting the first team, but that’s part and parcel of under-23s football.

“It’s about preparing as best as we can and taking the benefits that come with that. If someone goes up to the first team or goes out on loan, then it creates an opportunity for someone else.

“That’s the nature of football in general really, not just under-23 football. It’s up to the players to step up, grab the opportunity and display a good attitude and work rate.

“Certainly on the attitude and work rate side of things, the younger ones that came into the side, I was delighted with them.”

Rusk rotated his squad and introduced a 3-4-2-1 formation at the Academy Stadium, and he commented on the benefits of testing the players within various systems, after keeping a seventh clean sheet of the season.

“It’s important that the players get a good understanding of playing in different ways. Sometimes you have to be adaptable. It was a good challenge for the players to play a different system.

“There are plenty of positives to take away — it’s a really good win, a hard-working performance, and the goal we scored was an outstanding goal with lots of quality about it.”

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