9:30am Wednesday 19th September 2012
By Andy Naylor
Albion boss Gus Poyet has hailed a hard-fought win at Watford as a sign of his team’s promotion credentials and the improvement they have made since last season.
Craig Mackail-Smith’s second-half penalty at Vicarage Road last night was enough to keep the Seagulls in third spot in the Championship and encourage Poyet to believe they can sustain a challenge.
He told The Argus: “These are the games that put you up in the table. These are the games that last year we couldn’t win, simple as that.
“Last year in this game we would probably have conceded two or three. The quality and character of the team is totally different. The experience of some players on the pitch making decisions is totally different.
“There are two teams playing as well and Watford created a lot of problems. They were unlucky not to hit the target a few times.”
Mackail-Smith took over as penalty taker to convert his sixth goal in four games, with Ashley Barnes watching from the bench.
Poyet said: “They decide between themselves. It’s been like that for a while.
“We have got many options now so during the week Dobs (Stephen Dobbie) and Andrea Orlandi are taking penalties as well and David Lopez but, with the players that were on the pitch, Macca was probably the one to take it.”
Barnes’ replacement Andrea Orlandi, Mackail-Smith and Bruno were all substituted as Watford pressed for an equaliser. Bruno left the pitch in the closing moments clutching his hamstring. Poyet said: ““He was really tired. He had to defend and defend. We didn’t know how to keep the ball or kill the game with the breaks we had but when a team like Watford are so committed and put you under so much pressure you need to use the space to go and finish the game.”
Kazenga LuaLua was an absentee from the squad due to discomfort following recent surgery in Germany to remove a plate from the ankle he broke two seasons ago.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group