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."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Luke Shaw arrives a week early for Manchester United pre-season training after cutting short post-World Cup holiday
World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: A history of the third-place play-offs
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: Arrogant Brazilian team may never be forgiven by the fans
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel