Kazenga keeps Gus on track

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Brook

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

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

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