Poyet backs Vicente to shine

PA Sport
Vicente Rodriguez
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Vicente Rodriguez

Brighton manager Gus Poyet believes Vicente Rodriguez is running into form at the perfect time after the Spanish star's two late goals against Portsmouth took the Seagulls into a play-off position for the first time since October.

Vicente climbed off the bench to net in the 75th and 90th minutes as Albion extended their unbeaten league run in 2012 to 12 games with a 2-0 win that increases Portsmouth's problems at the foot of the npower Championship. The former Valencia winger has had a limited impact with Brighton due to injury, but Poyet is hopeful the worst is behind him.

Poyet said: "I want Vicente through to the end of the season because of his quality, there is no doubt about it."

He added: "In training this week he has been unbelievable so I needed to find a way of playing him.

"Vicente could not get back to his best before due to various reasons. I was trying my best to get him back and he has come off the bench on occasions and done well. It's a celebration today as he's come on and won the game for us."

Poyet is delighted at his side's solid form since the turn of the year and added: "We are on a good run. We are in a good position and it is up to us now to take it.

"I feel Vicente has the quality to do it in the Premier League. He has a one-year option on his contract and at the moment there is a 50-50 chance of him being here next season."

Rock-bottom Pompey have now gone eight games without a win, have scored just two goals during that time and are now eight points from safety.

Five of their remaining 11 games are against teams who are also fighting against the drop, and boss Michael Appleton believes this will be key to their slim hopes of survival.

He said: "We will be in a position where we can stop our rivals from getting points and we must make the most of four of our next five games being at home. If we get ourselves out of trouble that could play a big part."

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