Brighton & Hove Albion v Bournemouth: What did Chris Hughton say in his pre-match press conference?
Brighton boss Chris Hughton spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of Saturday's Premier League game with Bournemouth. Here are the key points.
What's the team news?
"At this moment everyone trained this morning. Decisions will be made today or tomorrow.
"Pascal (Gross) is fine with the injury. He has been doing some very good rehab work and trained this morning which is a real plus.
"All of the decisions will be around that."
How have the squad been since the FA Cup semi-final defeat?
"The players have been okay. There are two sides to it, one is the disappointment of not going through but the biggest thing we can get out of it was a performance that we hope hasn't done us any harm and a performance we hope we can take into this final group of Premier League matches.
"That's the aim. The group have felt good about putting a performance in. That comes first and is the most important thing.
"To run a top-class team like City, with the quality and options they have, fairly close speaks volumes for the group of players."
You have 33 points, five clear of the bottom three, how many more points do you need?
"I don't know. I wish I did know but you don't want to be going into any game thinking you're nearly there and you can take your foot off the pedal.
"I don't see that happening. I think everybody is fighting at the moment. We know the fate of Huddersfield and Fulham and everybody around the bottom group of teams will be fighting.
"Our attitude has to be exactly that. If we are able to get a result at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, then it's about the next one and can we get a result in that one and then it's about the next one.
"We are in a group of teams under a bit of pressure. You have to look forward to that challenge."
Will four more points be enough?
"I don't know. I can tell you what I think but that's immaterial, it's always going to be about what the facts are in the end.
"It's like going into any game and anticipating one team will beat another and then it doesn't happen.
"I don't think you can afford to think that way. I've always spoke exactly the same way. Whenever I've been asked about a figure I've always thought the 40 mark.
"It's too late in the day to change now."
Have you spoken to the players about how they've started games? The team didn't get going against Southampton until late on. Is it a concern?
"We want to start well, particularly at home and with a quick tempo.
"We have had games where we have started better. We analyse every game and speak about all aspects, where we can improve and that will sometimes dictate the team I will pick which will be on form or particular changes for a certain game.
"We would always want to start well. Sometimes if that doesn't happen it's not because you don't want it to happen, it's the way the game goes or you're having some difficulties."
Are the next two games as big as the FA Cup semi-final?
"Yes. The biggest one at this moment is Saturday's game against Bournemouth because it's the next one and is the best opportunity we have and the closest opportunity we have to pick up points.
"Are they more important than the FA Cup semi-final? Yes they are because the semi-final has gone.
"We were delighted to get there and delighted to put in the performance we did but that's gone. From the moment the final whistle went and we did the press, all of my thoughts and talks with the players have been about the next game."
Are you surprised Bournemouth have struggled a bit recently?
"I'm never surprised by any team's form in this division because there is so much quality.
"Bournemouth are still a level of club that are going to have highs and lows. There are always going to be a group of teams that have the financial clout to stay clear of the rest.
"Bournemouth are in a group of teams in a Premier League season which are going to have ups and downs.
"We know the quality they've got and they're generally quite close games against Bournemouth.
"We know each other very well as a club and players. They've had a little turnaround with the players they've had but they are a very good side.
"We have to prepare for the quality they've got."
Would staying up this year be a bigger achievement than last year?
"It would be as big an achievement because we are still not at the level that three, four, five years in the Premier League allows you to be.
"We're still learning about the division, the highs and lows, up and downs, the performance gaps as such. We're still learning a lot about this division and that's why we are so desperate to make sure we stay in it."
How much progress have you made this year?
"We have made progress in the team and the way the team is playing.
"We've changed a system to what we predominantly played last season. Probably the true calculation is about where you finish and how many points you finish with.
"It's not a true evaluation because I think you can still finish on the same amount of points or less points and feel you've improved or developed as a team. It may just so happen the teams around you have been better.
"I think we have improved, certainly in some aspects of our play, but it's also about where we finish in the league and how many points we finish with."
How satisfying is it to have the entire squad to choose from?
"It's very rare and we have not been too bad. There are lots of other clubs that have had bigger injury problems than what we have.
"Credit to the group of players and our medical staff who have worked very hard. It's nice going into the last group of games to have as many players as fit and available as possible."
Gross, Izquierdo, March have all been out. Have you had limited options in recent games?
"The options have changed for us.
"Jose has been a miss for us. This is a player from the wide area who scored five goals last season and we were looking forward to him improving on that.
"That's been disappointing for us but it's part and parcel of the game. You have to be able to cope with injuries and sometimes you look at other clubs and injury situations they've had and they have been worse than us.
"It's an area of the game you have to get on with.
"We have been restricted a little bit in some of the options but you have to get on with it."
Have you been creating enough chances?
"I don't think we have. When you play against the bigger teams you know you're going to be defending for big chunks of the game. You understand that and expect that.
"Around that I would have wanted to see more in the final third and in the opposition half.
"We know opportunities are going to be limited but even in those limited opportunities I would have liked to have seen more."
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