Graham Potter praised the work of Brighton’s academy after his youthful Seagulls side overcame Cardiff in the Carabao Cup.
Jakub Moder and Andi Zeqiri scored their first Brighton goals as Potter’s side booked a place in the third round of the competition with an impressive 2-0 win in the Welsh capital.
It was achieved after Potter sent out a side with an average age of 21 and every outfield player being 23 or under.
“You don’t really know for sure how it’s going to go against a Championship team,” Potter said after naming an entirely different starting line-up to the one that had beaten Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
“You don’t go that physicality in the under-23s, that’s for sure.
“It’s a different type of test, but the important thing with all of them is that the character is really strong.
“They are open-minded and want to try and do their best.
“Our job is to develop the right pathways into the Premier League because the level is so high.
“The work that the academy do developing that is fantastic.”
Brighton’s strong youth policy has paid off handsomely in recent seasons and Potter’s philosophy clearly runs through the clubs from junior sides into the first team.
Defender Ben White broke into the England set-up before joining Arsenal for £50million this summer, while striker Aaron Connolly has progressed on the south coast to make the international stage with the Republic of Ireland.
“We’re really pleased where we are at the moment,” Potter said. “We should be really proud as a club that we’ve got an academy like we have and we want to try and help that.
“The guys earned that win, deservedly I thought and could have added to the scoreline.
“We had to have a bit of luck at times, but I think it was a deserved victory.”
Cardiff, a combative and physical unit, have made an unbeaten start in the Sky Bet Championship with eight points from four games.
Boss Mick McCarthy named a side mixed with experience and youth and said: “We were beaten by a better team, no doubt about that.
“We started well in the first half and we had a good chance by pressing. But then we gave the ball away – and it ends up in the back of the net.
“They are a good side, but again, in the second half, we gave the ball away and it ends up in the net.
“I said at half-time, we ought to be out of this by now but we showed good spirit and I was very pleased with the response.”
Bluebirds skipper Sean Morrison was forced off in the first half through injury.
McCarthy added: “Sean slipped and hurt his knee. It wasn’t disastrous but we’ll see how he is.”