Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk took the positives from his team’s 2-1 victory over Derby County, as the Seagulls continued their challenge for the Premier League 2 Division 1 title.
Goals from Bojan Radulovic and Soufyan Ahannach put Albion 2-0 ahead before Cameron Cresswell’s late consolation, and Rusk reflected on contrasting halves for his team, who are now six league matches unbeaten.
He said, “It’s a really good result, considering what stage of the season we’re at. The first half was a professional performance — we had our moments where we moved the ball quite well.
“Derby are a good team and we knew it was going to be a difficult night. We’re fortunate with the mistake for the first goal, but that’s football.
“The second one was a good goal, but in the second half we weren’t at our level. We made things difficult for ourselves — some sloppy moments probably led to us absorbing a lot of pressure.
“But it’s development football — we’ll take the positives. It’s a good win and we’ll look at what could have been better in the second half.”
Rusk changed to a 4-4-2 formation for the visit of the Rams, and he explained his thinking behind the switch, which saw Viktor Gyokeres and Radulovic lead the line for the Seagulls.
“Derby press well and they’re very aggressive, so we wanted to have two forwards to counteract that pressure.
“In the first half I think it paid off, there were some good patterns that came out. We’ve got two good forwards in the team, so we decided to run with both of them.”
Albion now find themselves four points behind leaders Everton with four matches remaining, and Rusk admitted his team are focused on taking the title race to the wire.
“Of course we’re looking at that aspect of it. All we can do is go one game at a time, and if we can get to that Everton match and still be within touching distance, then that would be a fabulous achievement.”