Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens felt the side showed excellent game management in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
Stephens highlighted the importance of the three points, and was delighted with the way Albion were able to preserve their 2-1 lead going into the final 15 minutes.
He said, “We knew the magnitude of the game; it was not only a local derby for ourselves, but there were three points on the line as well.
“We know it’s important at this stage of the season to pick up as many points as possible, so from that point of view it’s a very impressive win.
“They’re a good side with quality players and we knew we’d have to withstand a bit of pressure without the ball.
“We work on it a lot in training and we’re more than capable of seeing games out without the ball, which we showed today [Saturday].
“We’ve gone ahead in games this season and not managed to see them out. We knew it was a point that we needed to improve on. We did that last week and on Saturday too.”
The midfielder feels Albion are starting to gain a good run of momentum, and is eager to increase the gap between themselves and the bottom three.
“Before the game last week, we knew that we were coming into a period of fixtures where we could try and put as much space between us and the bottom three as possible.
“It’s still not finished and we’ve still got some tough games coming up.
“We sat on 27 points for too long. We got there, and a bit of complacency maybe came in. We knew that last week was a massive game and we’re aiming to build on these last two performances.”
Attention now turns to next Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final tie against Millwall, and Stephens feels it will be another valuable opportunity for the manager to rotate his line-up.
“The boys have done well, we’re utilising the squad and everyone will be dying to play in what will be a big game next week.
“That’s always been the case throughout the competition [chance for others to come in], and whoever plays will have a job to do at Millwall away, which won’t be easy.
“We’re in for another hostile reception, but we showed we can cope with that.”