As Brighton gear up for an FA Cup 3rd round tie with Palace on Monday, Chris Hughton revealed where his priorities lie. For a club like Brighton Premier League survival is key, and the cup plays second fiddle.
The financial rewards for Premier League clubs are vast these days, especially in comparison to the FA Cup. For lower league outfits a cup run can be lucrative, but for EPL also rans it can be a big distraction. Chris Hughton still thinks the FA Cup is worth winning, but not at the cost of Premier League football.
Hughton: Brighton Changes Likely
Speaking to the media over the weekend, Hughton was asked would he be making changes on Monday. He replied: “You will see even Championship teams making wholesale changes. It is protecting what you have. Making sure you can compete and stay in the division you are in.”
Quizzed on whether this attitude devalued the FA Cup, Hughton said: “I don't think there is anyone who wants to devalue the FA Cup. But there are still only a few teams capable of winning it — that has been shown.”
“Each club goes into an FA Cup tie thinking about how far they can progress and weighing up what detriment it may be to their league position. But I don't think there will be a manager, whatever team they put out, who doesn't want to go through.”
Whatever happens for the rest of the season, Brighton supporters can be proud of their team. They have performed way beyond expectations in the Premier League. Many fancied them to go straight back down to the Championship, but they are sitting pretty in 12th.
They have amassed a total of 23 points from 22 games, and they are well on course to reach the fabled 40 point mark. Given their shoestring budget it would be a huge achievement to survive in the Premier League. If Hughton has to sacrifice an FA Cup run to stay up, the fans will not be complaining.