Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton admitted his feeling of elation — after reaching the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup — was more for others associated with the football club and not for his own personal satisfaction.
The Seagulls came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and win on penalties in yesterday’s dramatic quarter-final against Millwall, and Hughton was left feeling delighted for everyone connected to the football club.
He said, “It’s a wonderful feeling at the moment, but the other feelings I have for the players, supporters and the club are greater.
“With the nature of our game, some very good players never get an opportunity to get to a final or semi-final.
“Our support has been outstanding all season, growing with full houses. We’ve got a board and chairman, a chairman in particular, that has bankrolled this football club to where we are now.
“As an individual and manager, these are the moments that you want. You want promotions and the team to do well, and of course you want to get to the latter stages of competitions.”
Albion will now play reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the final four at Wembley Stadium next month, and Hughton continued to highlight the magnitude of the achievement.
“The club has come a long way, certainly over the last few years, but of course we have a lot of people associated with this club that have been through the more difficult times.
“It means everything when you’re a club of our level — it’s very difficult to get to this stage of the competition.
“You know it’s not going to come around too often, so when it does, you have to big up the occasion as much as possible and praise those that have got us there.”
It looked like Solly March’s last-gasp free kick was overhit and heading straight into the hands of Millwall goalkeeper David Martin, but it caused confusion for the shot-stopper and hit the back of the net.
Hughton admitted his initial feeling of disappointment after March delivered the free kick into the penalty area, but praised the substitute, who also scored his penalty in the shootout, for the impact he made after coming on in the 67th minute.
“In my mind, I was going mad because that was probably going to be our last good opportunity.
“When you’ve got the likes of Glenn [Murray], [Shane] Duffy and [Lewis] Dunk in the box, we always have a chance from free kicks.
“Solly is a very honest lad, so I’d very much imagine that he’s not [claiming he shot]. But we’re very grateful for his contribution when he came on.
“If we’re looking at changing the game, I think he certainly played a big part in the change, giving us a different dimension and of course getting us the equaliser.”