Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton praised his side for their commanding display after they beat MK Dons 2-0 to advance to the Emirates FA Cup fourth round.
The Seagulls boss made 11 changes to the starting line-up that overcame Fulham on Monday, and was delighted to gain a positive result after rotating the squad.
He said, “I thought we were worthy winners and started the game very well. We had a difficult period in the second half of the first half, but we were up against a good side.
“The most pleasing thing was how we finished the game strongly. We capitalised on the spaces and probably could have had another couple [of goals] towards the end.
“It’s even more pleasing when you do that [rotate squad] and win the game. Some will look at how we rested the 11 that played in the last game, but it really is about competition.
“It’s about getting players back from injury and pushing them into the team. When we have that level of competition, these games really matter.”
LATEST NEWS FROM SEAGULLS.CO.UK
Beram Kayal made his return from a long-term injury, scoring the opening goal and laying on the other for team-mate Tomer Hemed, and Hughton applauded the midfielder for his impressive performance.
“I thought it was a really good strike, but the fact he came through 70 minutes unscathed was more important. He’ll rest and recover for the next couple of days and then go again.
“For us, we want as manyplayers fit as possible, especially when they’re of Beram’s [Kayal] quality. So for him to come back and look as sharp as he did, that’s testament to the work that he’s done.
“We’d probably have liked him to have played another game before today, but that hasn’t been possible. The level of competition in our division is very high, so we know that we’ve got to be able to compete.
“We’re now going into what we believe to be the tougher part of the season and you want your best players available, and today showed that he’s on his way.”
Hughton was pleased to record another clean sheet and praised Albion’s central defensive partnership, as well as showing his satisfaction at Richie Towell’s contribution.
“They both put in solid performances [Uwe Huenemeier and Connor Goldson]. They were part of a team that didn’t concede and if you’re a centre-half, that’s almost the job done.
“I thought he was very good [Richie Towell]. He’s a fit lad, hasn’t had the games he’d have liked, got a whack towards the end, but I thought he covered a really good distance today.”