Crystal Palace v Brighton: Here's what Chris Hughton said in his pre-match press conference
Chris Hughton spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion's match at arch rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday. Here are the key points from the press conference.
What's the team news?
"It's only Pascal Gross who is not available for the game. Leon Balogun is back training now so apart from Pascal everybody is fit.
"We'll see how he goes this week. At the time I said the good news although it was a hamstring injury, it wasn't a bad hamstring, probably a grade one.
"He's not back training yet. He's been doing some good work with the medical department.
"He's got a chance for Millwall possibly, if not it will be after the international break."
Five points off 11th and five points off the relegation zone, how would you assess your position?
"You generally speak about the moment and there would have been periods this season, even going back four or five weeks where I would have been a lot happier and more content than what I am now.
"I think the fact we've gone through a difficult period, it alters your thinking on how a season has gone so far.
"Overall I think we've done okay and during difficult periods, when you look at the opposition you're against, you have to be mindful of where we've been and the fact this is only our second season (in the Premier League).
"We certainly shouldn't get carried away but our form hasn't been as good as what we'd have liked of late.
"I was delighted with our last win which was much-needed for the feel as well but overall I think we've done okay."
Have you noticed a lift in the mood after the win?
"Yes and no. Yes because it's normal and there's a nice feel after the game.
"For everybody concerned, Sunday becomes a far better day than when you're not getting results.
"On the other hand what I haven't seen in a period where we haven't been able to pick up them points is a dip in the enthusiasm in players and it's certainly not been doom and gloom around the place.
"The group of players we've got realise we've had some very difficult games in that period. Mixed into that period we've had the cup games as well which have given us a lift.
"There isn't anybody who has got too down but the win always gives you a lift."
You've said you want to avoid tension in the run-in. Does that come with winning games?
"You've always got to work with them off the pitch anyway. A club like ours in this division is generally not going to have a straight forward season.
"There are going to be difficult periods in a season where you need to work with the players on and off the pitch.
"Ultimately the further you are away from the bottom three, the better the feel. That's normal.
"The only way you can do that is getting enough points and winning enough games.
"For a period of time we did that.
"We're on the back of a good win and we need to get more wins."
Have you spoken about the win against Palace in December in the build-up to this match?
"No it's not something we've spoken about. If anything the feel you want is from the last game and winning the last game and the points you've got.
"I'd like to hope some part of our last performance against Palace that mentally you can use a little bit.
"We're up against a very good team and they have some really good individuals as well."
Where are Palace's strengths?
"They're a very strong outfit right through the squad they've got.
"The obvious ones for people to look at are their attacking options they've got.
"They play through midfield very well and very fast and even in the games they haven't got the results they wanted, they've always created chances and have had a lot of possession in the opposition half and the final third.
"From goalkeeper through, they're a very strong outfit but there's no doubt they have some really good attacking threats as well."
What role can the fans play to make sure it's an enjoyable game?
"It's a derby game and one both sets of supporters will always look forward to.
"It's one game that both sets of supporters don't want to be on the losing side.
"I can only speak about our supporters who have been excellent all season. I'm quite sure in what is always a noisy Selhurst Park our supporters will make themselves heard but we've got to give them something to cheer about.
"We've got to put in a performance which not only raises our players but gives our supporters something to cheer about."
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