THE HUGHTON VIEW
Chris Hughton looks back and assesses the 3-1 victory over Southend United in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon at the Lane...
Chris Hughton looks back and assesses the 3-1 victory over Southend United in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon at the Lane...IT WAS A good performance in the FA Cup on Saturday and, if I look at the two games we've had against Southend, this one was far more comfortable than the first one and given that we scored when we did, we should have gone in at the break probably two or three goals up.
Having a more comfortable victory is certainly nice as a coach and I must admit that, even at 2-1 where anything can happen, I always felt we would go on and get the extra goal. Overall it was a good display that included some fine individual performances.
We were able to bring some players back into the fold on the day for their first full games after injury, which is a positive, while we were also able to introduce Ricardo Rocha for his debut.
You look at individuals and the period of time they are out and there aren't many who work as hard as Paul Stalteri does when he is absent from the team. He is a very fit lad and not one who is used to being injured - he went for almost seven years without picking up a significant injury. He worked very hard in his rehab and it showed, he slotted in well and I actually felt he should have scored in the first half when he was put through, but just delayed a touch and tried to cut it back when he had a good opportunity to score.
Ricardo got a welcome to the English game - along with a few stitches - and had a good debut. Not taking anything away from Southend, but it was probably the best sort of game for him to start off in, a match that was reasonably comfortable for us. We've certainly made him aware of how tough the games will be week in, week out and the quality of the Premiership, but he did well taking his first steps in the cup and that will set him up for the challenges ahead.
Jermaine Jenas came back and he is a wonderful athlete. Like with Paul, it is testament to JJ and how hard he's worked in the period he's been out - he is one who gives maximum effort every day. He is one who is aware of the relationship between how hard he works when he is out and he well he can do when he returns.
The performance he put in on Saturday was JJ all over and having him back is a big, big plus for us. There are so many facets to his game and he is a good all-round player who is good in the air too. He is a player who is capable, when on his game, of scoring eight to 10 goals from midfield.
His display showed how much he missed the game and how desperate he was to get back. We have missed him and are certainly looking forward to having him hopefully available through to the end of the season now.
Mido was another to play his first full game for a while and marked it with a very good goal. I'm pleased for him because, like all strikers, he gages his game not only on performance but goals too. I think it will give him confidence for games to come, he is an important member of our squad and if we are to achieve what we want this season it is vital to have our strikers as fit and ready as possible.