Seag­ulls aim for play-off re­venge

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIFTH ROUND - By Chris Dunlavy

‘With 100 per cent re­spect to Hull, this is winnable. We have a chance to progress’ Brighton’s An­drea Or­landi ‘If we can get past Brighton then all of a sud­den we are in the quar­ter-fi­nals and it gets ex­cit­ing’ Hull City boss Steve Bruce

BRIGHTON star An­drea Or­landi is des­per­ate to stay in the FA Cup – so Brighton can have the Wem­b­ley fi­nal that was so cru­elly snatched away last year.

The Spa­niard, 29, was part of the side beaten by arch-ri­vals Crys­tal Palace in last sea­son’s Cham­pi­onship play-off semis, a de­feat that ul­ti­mately saw man­ager Gus Poyet leave the club.

Hav­ing drawn 0-0 at Sel­hurst Park in the first leg, it ap­peared the hard work had been done, but a half­baked per­for­mance at the Amex saw the Seag­ulls beaten 2-0.

And it is the mem­ory of that meek sur­ren­der that will drive Or­landi on when Hull make the long trip to Sus­sex on Mon­day.

“We were all so dis­ap­pointed not to reach Wem­b­ley last year,” said Or­landi. “We were hot favourites af­ter the first leg, when we drew 0-0 at Palace. Then we played them at home in the sec­ond leg and played our worst game of the sea­son.

“It hurt, be­cause we looked re­ally strong last sea­son and we felt so con­fi­dent. We all ex­pected to play the fi­nal. But we let ev­ery­one down. Now we have a chance to redeem our­selves. If we beat Hull, we are just one game away.”

Poyet’s ac­ri­mo­nious de­par­ture led to the ar­rival of for­mer Barcelona mid­fielder Os­car Gar­cia as man­ager and, af­ter a slow start, the 40-year-old has guided Brighton to within a point of sixth place.

“Os­car is very dif­fer­ent to Gus in the way he ap­proaches the play­ers,” adds Or­landi. “Gus is very pas­sion­ate and would tell you what he was think­ing. Os­car is more thought­ful and re­laxed.

“He thinks about it, goes away and then maybe he will talk to you later. The train­ing meth­ods are dif­fer­ent as well. The foot­ball we play at the minute is maybe more di­rect. It’s still based on pos­ses­sion, but it’s not like Gus, you know? He would al­ways play from the back, no mat­ter what. With Os­car, we try to get for­ward a lit­tle bit quicker.


“It’s not that we play di­rect foot­ball. We still try to keep the ball. Os­car came from Barcelona, so that will never change. But we’re just try­ing to have a plan B. Last sea­son, we had Liam Brid­cutt in mid­field. He did a re­ally good job be­tween the de­fence and the mid­field. So we would look for Liam or the wingers, that was all.

“With­out him, we have to change and look for some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent. So now, we can look for a striker run­ning down the chan­nel, some­thing over the top. It’s just about mak­ing op­po­nents think more.”

Not that Or­landi has been around for much of it. In­jured – not for the first time in his ca­reer – in Au­gust, the winger spent four months on the treat­ment ta­ble and is only just re­turn­ing to his best.

“I got in­jured on my birth­day – the first game of the sea­son,” he says.“I tore my lat­eral menis­cus so I was out for nearly four months. I came back in De­cem­ber, played for the first time in Jan­uary and now I’m fi­nally play­ing reg­u­larly. It’s been re­ally, re­ally dis­ap­point­ing

“At Swansea, I got in­jured ev­ery Jan­uary. It was like the curse of win­ter. It’s why I never got any con­sis­tency. But last sea­son I played nearly 40 games and stayed in­juryfree the whole year.

“So to get in­jured the first game of the new sea­son was like ‘Here we go again’. But thank­fully I’m back now.”

Yet if Os­car has not been able en­joy the fruits of Or­landi’s talent, he has cer­tainly made use of his coun­try­man’s flaw­less English.

“Os­car’s English is re­ally good,” in­sists Or­landi. “But at first, he used to trans­late all his in­struc­tions from Span­ish to English, so it took a lit­tle bit of time to send the mes­sage.

“So to have Spa­niards in the team who could speak English was very im­por­tant. But now he’s com­mu­ni­cat­ing very well and there is no need for that.”


And no need to do much home­work on Hull, who were beaten 1-0 at the Amex last sea­son.“I re­mem­ber them very well,” said Or­landi, who scored seven goals in 36 games for Brighton last year.

“We man­aged to win, but it was the tough­est game we had at home. They were re­ally solid. They had good play­ers and now they’ve added qual­ity like Jake Liver­more and Tom Hud­dle­stone. But it’s not im­pos­si­ble. With 100 per cent re­spect to Hull, it’s winnable. We have a chance to progress, and we’re look­ing for­ward to it. To be one step away from Wem­b­ley is al­ways ex­cit­ing, and if you get a good draw then you never know.”

Keith An­drews is in con­tention for Brighton af­ter a ham­string prob­lem but Bruno is out with a thigh prob­lem. Hull striker Sone Aluko is set to make his first start af­ter four months out but new strik­ers Ni­kica Jelavic and Shane Long are cup-tied.

Tigers boss Steve Bruce has rested play­ers in ear­lier rounds but won’t this time. He said:“It’s dif­fer­ent at this stage. If we can get past Brighton then all of a sud­den you’re in the quar­ter fi­nals and it starts get­ting ex­cit­ing.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

DREAM IS OVER: For­mer man­ager Gus Poyet looks on de­ject­edly as Brighton are de­nied a place in last sea­son’s play-off fi­nal by Ian Hol­loway’s Crys­tal Palace


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