Kazenga keeps Gus on track
BRIGHTON manager Gus Poyet claims his side will have only themselves to blame if they fail to make the play-offs after a late equaliser at Leicester convinced him it will be a case of who cracks first.
Despite the Seagulls only winning one in seven and the Foxes one in 12, Poyet and Nigel Pearson both believe a top-six finish is within their side’s grasp as the season nears its end.
Matty James gave Leicester a second-half lead, but Kazenga LuaLua equalised late on for Brighton to leave Poyet’s side two points clear of the Foxes in the final play-off spot.
And Poyet said: “I think we’re still there and it will go to the last game. Everybody is playing each other and nobody seems to want to win, so it is still in our hands.
“We are ahead of the rest. If we don’t make the top six it will be because of our own failure.
“I think we need to win three from five. That would make sure that the ones behind us would need to win four.
“It was quite poor for a half based on the standards I was expecting of the game. There was no danger, only shots from long distance. No doubt we deserved a point. There was one team really trying to attack.
“But the prob- lem was not that match. The problem was Tuesday, it was last Saturday, it was in the past.”
James’ goal came as he picked up a failed clearance and skipped around tackles from Matthew Upson and Dean Hammond to drill inside Tomasz Kuszczak.
But LuaLua equalised, jinking past Liam Moore, on whom he inflicted a torrid afternoon, and drove a shot through the unsighted Kasper Schmeichel’s flapping hands.
Neither sides hit the heights they have reached this season, but the Foxes enjoyed most of the chances and should feel most aggrieved by sharing the points.
Andy King hit the bar in the first half and Jeff Schlupp should have scored when through on goal and Kuszczak jumped too early. The Pole in goal saved neatly from the pair early in the second half, as Leicester enjoyed their best spell of the pressure.
Typically Brighton passed the ball neatly, but they created little until Vicente Rodriguez’s introduction other than an Íñigo Calderón header off the line.
Vicente troubled Leicester but LuaLua was the chief tormentor, teeing up Leonardo Ulloa, only for the Argentine to slice his shot wide.
Then after James’ goal, he snatched a point, leaving Bolton – coming up on the rail – as the game’s big winner.
For Leicester it is now eight games without a win but, despite speculation Paul Ince was being lined up to replace him this week, Pearson is certain they are still in with a shout.
“One win in 12 certainly isn’t promotion form at all, but we’ve got a great opportunity to do it,” he said. “We’ve got five games left and it’s in our own hands. They’re all tough games, but they’ll be tough for everybody.
“Don’t assume because we’re under the cosh that everybody else is finding it easy.
“The problem for us is that we’re out of the habit of winning and unfortunately we’ve conceded a late goal to deny us that elusive win. The longer you go without winning it does apply a bit of pressure. We’ve played well and got good results for the vast majority of the season.”
ZINGER: Kazenga LuaLua celebrates with teammates after scoring Brighton’s equaliser