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Alireza Jahanbakhsh loved the derby. Now bring on the FA Cup

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Theargus - Alireza Jahanbakhsh, the man who – via our back page - called for cool heads at Selhurst Park, has lived through and triumphed in a highly-charged derby with Albion.

And he reckons a case of “same again” can get the Seagulls through their next test of temperament, at Millwall on Sunday.

Albion go into the Lions’ den for an FA Cup quarter-final buoyed by 2-1 success at Crystal Palace which completed a derby double.

As a star player for Iran, Jahanbakhsh knows all about carrying the hopes of a nation.

Not least when his country take on Iraq, as happened recently in the Asian Cup.

There is a huge responsibility involved and the hope is to make as many people around you as happy as possible.

Which means Jahanbakhsh has been well prepared for the last couple of weeks, in the run-up to a derby at Crystal Palace and now only the fourth FA Cup quarter-final of the club’s history.

He sensed a different feel ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park, which resulted in a 2-1 win.

That left him braced for growing excitement this week as the Millwall trip looms.

Jahanbakhsh, back as first choice out wide in Albion’s league XI, told The Argus: “It was amazing (at Palace). We needed the points to get higher and higher.

“Even the couple of days before the game, there was a lot of talk about just how important that game was and if we could win for the second time this season it would be great.

“Away from home every game is tough, especially at such a stadium – really compact, Palace fans really loud. But everyone did a great job.

“When you are out in the street, on social media, everywhere, people showed us how important this game is.

“Everyone worked hard – the players who played, who didn’t play, who came in all, the staff, everyone worked hard to get three points.”

He added: “It is kind of the same game because it is important for the people.

“You know if you win the game you give a really good feeling to the people.

“It is incredible to win such a game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

“I have played in many games like this before and I know how it feels afterwards between the fans.”

Palace fans were loud at times on Saturday.

But they were not at their best by any means and that had a lot to do with what was going on in front of them.

Some of that was their own failings.

The time when Palace really could have got on a roll came after their penalty equaliser but a lot of passes went astray at key times, which killed their momentum.

But Albion also took a lot of the credit for the way they were organised and disciplined, offering no real chances once the hosts had drawn level.

Selhurst Park went unusually quiet once Anthony Knockaert had restored Albion’s lead, right up until added time.

Still, it was pretty lively to start with, especially for a 12.30pm kick-off.

The talk afterwards was of how Millwall could be something similar.

Jahanbakhsh said: “Everyone has been saying it will be quite the same.

“This felt a little bit nicer because it is three league points, winning, this gives you a better feeling which is hard to explain.

“We know how important it was for the players, for the fans and for the club.

“It was a double feeling. On the one side, we needed three points, on one side winning against Palace gives you a really good feeling.

“Both league and cup are really important to us.

“We know it is going to be another difficult game away from home.

“But the most important thing is we just continue the same performance level, winning the games, get back to a good shape, get back to basics, which we always try to do.

“Playing in a semi-final and going further would be great.”

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Jahanbakhsh has had some testing times but is back on a high with four starts in the last six games, including both of the last two.

His many fans in Iran and those who supported him at last season at AZ Alkmaar follow his fortunes closely and are just waiting for him to explode as a Premier League star.

They will love the fact Albion have won seven of the eight games he has started in league and cup, the exception coming at Everton.

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A first goal would be rapturously welcomed.

He dipped a shot inches over at Palace and went even closer the previous week when he hit the bar with Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl well beaten.

How timely would a goal against the Terriers have been?

Jahanbakhsh was back at Alkmaar the following afternoon as VIP guest for the 4-2 win at home to Fortuna Sittard.

It was his official farewell to the club for whom he scored 21 league goals last term.

He said: “They always welcome me and it was a good feeling to see my old team-mates, coaches, everyone there.

“I always had a good feeling, being there with my team-mates.

“That is the feeling I get right now at Brighton and it is just getting better and better every single game.

“Hopefully I can just perform better for the club.

“They are following what I am doing and how the team is doing.

“I went after the game against Huddersfield, which we won.

“The shot in that game didn’t go in. At Palace I also had one very close.

“But we will be all right.”

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