It’s been two games and two 0-0 draws since my last programme notes, but when I look back over both performances, over the two games I have been pleased with the levels we reached.
Norwich City were tough opponents, and the game emphasised the phrase I have used regularly, that there are no easy games in the Premier League. To think we should just turn up to any opponent and win, based purely on their league position, would be disrespectful. The beauty of the Premier League is that any team, on their day, can beat any other, and Norwich were the tough opponents we expected. It was a good game, and while we didn’t deserve to lose and had chances to win it, in truth, neither team could argue they deserved to win.
MA+ members & STH only - Log-in required
Looking back to the previous home match, our performance against Arsenal – ahead of the international break – was our best of the season. I was really pleased with the intensity we showed, and I felt the team showed great courage to play on the front foot from the off. All that was missing was a goal, but I was really proud of the performance and players, especially given the quality of the opposition we faced and also the difficult conditions.
We will need to improve our performance as this evening’s game is arguably as tough as they come, as we welcome the champions. Manchester City have consistently been amongst the best, if not the best, in the Premier League during my time as Brighton manager, and we know how good they are, and what the task in front of us is. They are a fantastic group of players, and with a manager and staff held in the highest regard. We know that we will need to be at our very best to keep our recent good run going, and the players will approach the game with the same positive attitude they have shown all season.
Finally, today is our designated No Room For Racism game and I speak on behalf of our players and coaching staff when I say that there is no place for racist abuse, be it on the pitch or in society in general. Sadly, we have continued to see the issue of racism rear its ugly head – with players suffering online abuse in growing numbers this past year. We saw it most vividly after England’s Euro 2020 final defeat. It’s truly despicable and more has to be done by the social media companies to tackle it. The government have a real opportunity to put some robust measures in place with the upcoming online safety bill in order to stop this nonsense.
From our end, we will continue to take the knee, to highlight the issues that are still very much with us. But it is vital we also back it up with our actions as a club. I also call on you, the fans, to play your part. If you see or hear anything while you’re watching games here, via social media or on your travels around the country, please follow our guidelines, and report it to us here at the club via the recommended channels.
Enjoy the game.
* You can purchase your matchday programme at the Amex Stadium, priced £3.50, or online here