Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton expecting Spurs to be focused on Seagulls, not upcoming FA Cup semi-final
PUBLISHED: 17:30 16 April 2018
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Mauricio Pochettino’s team can still finish second in the Premier League according to former player and coach Chris Hughton
Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton has dismissed suggestions Tottenham Hotspur will be distracted by their upcoming FA Cup semi-final when they visit the Amex Stadium.
Spurs travel to the south coast on Tuesday evening attempting to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification ahead of Saturday’s cup clash with Manchester United at Wembley.
Hughton’s Seagulls are in desperate need of points to stave off Premier League relegation following four matches without a win.
And he does not believe their task will be helped by Mauricio Pochettino’s fourth-placed side having an important game at the weekend.
“I think with a club like Tottenham and where they are at the moment and the aspirations that they have, they still have the ability to finish in second place and I would imagine that is very much high on their list of priorities,” said Hughton.
“Of course it’s a very big game over the weekend but what you find with the top-six clubs and those that are in most of the cup competitions is that they are used to any rotation that they have, they are used to playing two games in a week.
“And they have players that can play in all of the games. So, no, I don’t think it will be a distraction. I think they will focus very much on tomorrow night and the cup game once tomorrow’s out of the way.”
Albion’s winless run has left them anxiously looking over their shoulder in their efforts to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
They are currently seven points above the relegation zone but their survival hopes are not helped by having to play all of the top-four teams in their remaining five fixtures.
After Tottenham’s midweek visit and a trip to seventh-placed Burnley, the Seagulls finish the season by hosting Manchester United and then travelling to champions Manchester City and Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool.
Only Serie A leaders Juventus and Pep Guardiola’s City have beaten Tottenham during the past four-and-a-half months and Hughton admits the north London club will have to be below par for Brighton to avoid defeat.
“We will need to play well, we will need a Tottenham side that’s not at their best,” he added when asked how the Seagulls could register a positive result against Spurs.
“We know that they will have the bulk of possession because of the way they play, they are an expansive side.
“I think Tottenham have had an outstanding season and have really developed season after season.
“We will have to play at a good level, we will certainly have to nullify a lot of the good strengths that they have and the threats that they have got but we’ve also got to be a threat ourselves.
“We can’t defend for too long a period in the game otherwise, with the quality that they’ve got, the inevitable happens so we will have to make sure that we are in the game.”
Albion have no fresh selection concerns, although Dutch midfielder Davy Propper remains sidelined as he serves the second game of a three-match suspension.