Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City: What did Chris Hughton say in his pre-match press conference?

Brighton boss Chris Hughton spoke to the press today ahead of Albion's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Saturday. Here are the key points from the press conference.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 2:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 4:52 pm
Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

What's the injury news?

"At this moment the only one we know that definitely won't make it is Pascal (Gross).

"We'll assess Solly (March) this morning, the good news is although he felt his calf tightening a little bit, it doesn't feel like a pull.

"We'll assess him and see how he is. We're hoping everyone else will be okay.

"Jurgen (Locadia) felt his calf very slightly yesterday so we decided not to take a risk. We're hoping he'll train this morning and that being that case he'll be available."

How much are you and the team relishing the opportunity on Saturday?

"We know how big the opportunity is, not only for the players but for the club.

"It certainly hasn't been difficult for me to separate the two (Premier League and FA Cup) because we know how big the Premier League is for us.

"There's a lot of planning that had to go into a performance last night and one we knew would be a very difficult game. It's not so hard to concentrate on one at a time.

"We know what a big occasion Saturday is. One thing we've always stressed to the players and that's going through the rounds is there are some very good players who never get the opportunity to get to a final and some not even to a semi-final.

"They have to make the most of it and try to put in a performance, irrespective of any result, they can be proud of."

Is it the toughest challenge in Europe at the moment?

"Yes I think it is. They made seven changes last night and still had 26 shots at goal and had close to 80 per cent possession.

"At this moment they are one of if not the best team in the world with an array of players that are top players. They're not only technically gifted, they are a fit side and a very motivated side hence the reason why they are going for all four trophies.

"They are an exceptional squad of players which makes the challenge even bigger."

What would your message to your players be?

"The occasion will take care of itself. We certainly won't have to motivate anybody to want to run harder, to try and do as well as they can and to put in a good performance.

"Motivation certainly won't be a problem. The problem will be the quality we're up against and what will be the best opportunities for us to stay in the game.

"The message to the players will be to give everything. We want them to come away being proud of a performance by the team and an individual performance."

More than 30,000 Albion fans will be at Wembley. What have you made of the support?

"They have been outstanding and they were outstanding last night.

"What they did last night was they appreciated what a difficult task it was and for good periods we were in the game.

"Whatever the result on Saturday, I think they will be exactly the same. It's an appreciation of a team and a group of players that have got to this stage. They understand how difficult the game will be and it's something that doesn't happen too often, particularly for a club like ourselves and I think they will make the most of it, irrespective of what any result will be."

What does it mean to you?

"As a manager and coach, you want to play at the highest level and you want to reach the latter stages of cup competitions."Unless you are a top six manager that can be very difficult. It's something I will be very proud of. How much I will enjoy the day will be down to a team performance and a performance I can be proud from a group of lads who have given everything."

VAR will be in use this weekend and replays will be shown on the screen. Is that a positive?

"That I don't know. At this moment I'm not so much for that. I am for VAR, I probably wasn't but I like a lot of people in this position have been persuaded because we know it's going to come in.

"I've been down to the studios and seen it in action and it's just about an adjustment to the game.

"I ultimately think it will be good for the game. What we don't want is to get to a position where it becomes more and more, so we're showing more to the supporters. Then what at this moment is clear and obvious becomes the next phase and the next phase.

"Once it's in which is next season, we need to be clear and if it expands, I don't think the expansion needs to be that great.

"As regards what we show supporters, I'm probably not too much in favour of that."

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Phil Foden both starred last night. Who do you think has the most potential?

"The obvious answer is both. They are both outstanding players playing in outstanding teams with outstanding squads with outstanding managers.

"The managers are managing them very well. There's always a lot of talk about when a player is ready to be in a team and the the individuals that know them the best are the coaches who work with them day in day out.

"They will harness their careers in the best way for them. They are two outstanding prospects in outstanding squads."

Is it any advantage if Sergio Aguero is missing or if City have an issue at left-back?

"Probably the answer is no because of the quality they've got but that's not taking anything away from Aguero. If we're talking about world class players and best players in the world there's no doubt he's one of the best number nines in the world.

"He's consistently done it and we're fortunate as a league to have had him plying his trade here for a number of years.

"The answer is no because of the squad they've got but that's not taking anything away from what an outstanding individual he is."

Do you try to contain City or go toe-to-toe with them?

"I think it's foolish to go toe to toe and I'm not embarrassed to say you have to try to contain them.

"They have too many options. If you feel you can take the game to them and play a very open game, they have so many strategies to open you up and that starts with a goalkeeper who can play a pass some 60 or 70 yards.

"The important thing is we stay in the game. Nobody knows at this moment how the game will pan out.

"We will want to start well because the last thing you need when you go into a game like this is to be very quickly out of the game.

"You need to stay in the game but if we were to be concentrated and determined in what we do and have a good structure about us, you're reliant on City not having one of their better days.

"If we are defeatist from the moment we walk onto the pitch there is only one outcome.

"To give us any chance at all we have to be positive about the way we want to approach the game."