Hughton: Cup runs were brilliant experience
Thursday 08 March 2012
Chris Hughton admits Birmingham's double cup adventure this season has affected their Championship promotion hopes – but the City manager is adamant that he would not have sacrificed the experience his younger players have gained in their Europa League and FA Cup runs for more league points.
The Blues, who lost their FA Cup replay 2-0 to Chelsea on Tuesday night, will have played 63 games by May if they achieve their objective of returning to the Premier League via the play-offs.
Looking ahead, Hughton explained; "We said [about] all the cup games, even the Europa League, that we would embrace the competitions and get the best from them. We have enjoyed those runs but we also knew that if we went out of any of the cups, it does give us that opportunity to concentrate on the league.
"It has been our biggest focus and it has to be. Have the cups been a welcome distraction? Yes, they have – but, of course, they have been a distraction.
"How would our league position be if we hadn't been in the cups? Arguably we would have been in a better position. But if you ask me if I would rather have done without the cups, then I would have said no."
He added: "The cup competitions have given a lot of players here great experience, particularly the younger players like Nathan Redmond and Jordon Mutch.
"I think it has added to what we've had at the club this season. Now we have an opportunity to concentrate on what is important for us, and that's making sure we stay in contention for the play-offs."
Hughton is confident his small squad will not run out of steam after their demanding schedule. He said: "It's been a hell of a season but we are OK. If we can go through the rest of the season, and limit the injuries we've got, then we will certainly have a good enough squad to cope.
"It's then about making sure we get good enough results. The good thing about this bunch of players is that they want to play in all of the games – I don't get anyone saying they are feeling tired, or want to be left out.
"How we will fare in this last 13 games, I don't know. What we need to do is get back on track after a blip in the last couple of home games where we've not been at our best."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal are so close to winning the Premier League, but sometimes Arsene Wenger holds them back, says Jamie Carragher
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
Real Madrid vs Juventus preview: Juventus know they must attack to match past European glory
Two new members of Floyd Mayweather's The Money Team blag their way into entourage to celebrate to celebrate with Justin Bieber
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally