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Bruno: Our squad can cope
Bruno is ready to embrace his first traditional English football festive period.
And he reckons Albion have the squad, the momentum and the schedule to ensure it is a happy Christmas and New Year for all concerned.
The in-form Albion right-back plays his first ever Boxing Day match when the Seagulls go to Charlton on Thursday before fixtures at Blackpool on Sunday and at home to Bournemouth next Wednesday.
They then face Reading on January 4, the day before Twelfth Night – a date the Spanish celebrate as enthusiastically as Christmas Day itself.
Boxing Day football is a new experience for Bruno, David Lopez, Leo Ulloa and most of the coaching staff.
Of course Bruno and David were here last year – but Albion did not play on December 26.
And, anyway, the right-back was being bedevilled by an Achilles injury that first flared at Charlton, ruled him out from New Year’s Day onwards and was the precursor to several niggles through much of 2013.
Now, invigorated by a couple of stellar home displays down the right against Leicester and Huddersfield and quietly confident this squad could be set for great things in 2014, he is ready to get stuck into a key week.
“We will make the most of it,” he said.
“It’s a new experience but we will have family over and I am going to enjoy it this time from a professional point of view.
“It’s three games in a week but that doesn’t worry me because we have a big squad with players recovered from injury.
“But we also have a squad full of quality.
“Any of those players in the squad can play and do a good job. We have no reason to worry about having three games in a week.
“Leo is coming back bit by bit as well, getting his minutes, getting into rhythm.
“He is a key player for us and he will be back at his best before very long.
The festive schedule has been tweaked and Football League teams have two clear days between fixtures – although that is not the case for several Premier League sides.
Bruno, who comes from near Barcelona and wished fans "Merry Christmas" in Catalan for a club video (see accompanying clip) added: “The spacing between games is good.
"We have more time to recover and I think that is better for everybody – for the players and the people who come to watch us perform at our best.
“You need all the hours you can get between matches for recovery.”
Christmas and the days just after it has been a tough time for Albion in their two previous seasons back in the Championship, although they have picked up in January.
Bruno, though, is happy they go into Boxing Day in good shape, which was not the case in the past two seasons.
He added: “We feel good because we played well (against Huddersfield), we defended well, we went forward well and we had quite a few chances.
“But there’s also that nagging feeling that we failed to win at home which always has to be our main target.
“I feel we have been playing well for a few games now. We had chances to win that game.
“That’s football. We need to be more effective in front of the opposition goal.
“We didn’t get the three points and that is a shame. But we need to keep working and playing the same way.”
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