RIGA PUTS TROU­BLES BE­HIND HIM

The Football League Paper - - GOOD BAD & UGLY: GLEN LITTLE - By James Walker

BLACK­POOL boss Jose Riga in­sisted head­lines don’t con­cern him after claim­ing a first away point the day after his chair­man re­vealed he had no re­grets about try­ing t o

re­cruit another man­ager be­hind his back.

Bur­ton Al­bion boss Gary Rowett turned down the Black­pool job but a well or­gan­ised back­line sug­gested the sit­u­a­tion had not af­fected the Seasiders’ prepa­ra­tions.

Brighton could not break down the vis­it­ing de­fence de­spite con­trol­ling the game, although keeper Joe Lewis pro­duced sev­eral im­por­tant saves, in­clud­ing two sec­ond-half ef­forts from Danny Holla.

And Black­pool boss Riga said: “If I start to get sus­pi­cious I can­not do my job. My main fo­cus is to be com­pet­i­tive.

“I am a coach, I like to win. Usu­ally I win more than I lose and I am look­ing to do the same here at Black­pool.

“I am pleased with this per­for­mance be­cause it shows a real com­mit­ment and team spirit. With this men­tal­ity you can hope and get what you want to get.

“It’s Joe’s sec­ond clean sheet. Most of the time in his ca­reer he is sec­ond choice, not first, so it’s a new role for him.

“To go from the shadow is tough and he is grow­ing with the team.

“When you have de­fend­ers work­ing hard in front of you and you make the save and help the team that makes me happy.”

Brighton con­trolled most of the game but did not come alive un­til an in­jury to Jef­frey Rent­meis­ter left the vis­i­tors with ten men for the last six min­utes.

From that point Brighton packed the fi­nal third but Kazenga LuaLua and Craig Mack­ail-Smith had ef­forts from inside the box blocked.

Paddy McCourt also came close with two stop­page-time ef­forts from the edge of the area, with one go­ing a yard wide and the other kept out by a sim­ple dive from Lewis.

Ear­lier in the half Lewis, on loan from Cardiff, re­acted well to save a curved 62nd-minute free-kick from Holla, which was des­tined for the bot­tom cor­ner.

The Dutch mid­fielder had al­ready come close to scor­ing with a driven ef­fort from the edge of the area that was blocked by Lewis ten min­utes ear­lier.

Bruno Sal­tor had a sim­i­lar ef­fort par­ried im­me­di­ately after half-time.

The first half was largely a write off, although Adrian Col­unga came close to giv­ing the hosts the lead in the open­ing minute but Lewis gath­ered the ball oneon-one.

The only other op­por­tu­nity came from a Joe Ben­nett’s free­kick which hit the side net­ting in the 32nd minute.

The vis­i­tor’s sole op­por­tu­nity came in the 78th minute when Ish­mael Miller dis­pos­sessed Sal­tor to be through on goal but had a near post ef­fort blocked by David Stock­dale.

And Brighton boss Sami Hyypia said: “Our game plan is to score goals and win the game.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing when that doesn’t hap­pen.

“It’s good we didn’t con­cede, that’s pos­i­tive, but I would like to have three points on the board.

“We are not get­ting into po­si­tions for our strik­ers to score many goals. We need to try to work on things in the fi­nal third.

“I think at­tack­ing and scor­ing goals is more dif­fi­cult than de­fend­ing.

“We started well, had a good chance in the open­ing minute. At times we would get into the area and the last pass was not good enough.

“After that early chance we lost the tempo. When that hap­pens it’s dif­fi­cult to win and you make it eas­ier for the op­po­si­tion.

“The team showed a good re­ac­tion in the sec­ond half, when we were more lively and played with more ur­gency.”

PIC­TURES: Si­mon Roe/TGSPHOTO

MEN­ACE: Adrian Col­unga of Brighton fires goal­bound In­set: Brighton’s Sam Bal­dock chal­lenges for a ball at the near post

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