20 October 2023

It is bad news – Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi expects Man City to bounce back

20 October 2023

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi insists the upcoming clash against Manchester City on Saturday afternoon is “bad news” despite the Premier League champions’ recent form.

The Seagulls are aiming to break their recent run of four games in all competitions without a victory, but in their way stand Pep Guardiola’s side.

City have been going through a tough spell themselves, according to their lofty standards, losing three of their last four matches in all competitions, but return to the Etihad Stadium where they have a 100 per cent record so far this season.

Asked whether it is a good time to face the treble winners, De Zerbi admitted the opposite.

He told a press conference: “It is bad news. The big teams are not used to losing three games in the last four, but anyway we have to think for ourselves.

“We have to improve in the quality of the play because we are not playing enough for our level and to compete for our target. We have to understand if we want to win or want to compete we have to play better than the last games.

“Without the quality of the play, we can’t reach any target and we have to be clear.”

Brighton have gone from strength to strength since De Zerbi walked through the door at the Amex Stadium, having delivered European football to the fans for the first time in the club’s history.

Many have compared the Italian’s achievements so far to the boss in the opposite dugout and De Zerbi admits he would love to do what Guardiola has done throughout his managerial career.

“I’m happy when I listen to Pep speak about me. I feel a bit embarrassed, but we are a work in progress,” De Zerbi added.

“I think we are playing well, fighting well but we have to improve, progress and adapt a new challenge and new season.

“Pep is a boss. I would like to do something the same because for many years he won in Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Man City, but the way which he won is different to other coaches. The world will remember him not only for the victory but the way he wins, it is unique.”

Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland has not found the back of the net in his last two league appearances which many fans have not been used to since his arrival into the league.

But De Zerbi is extra wary of Haaland’s threat as he looks to break his mini duck.

He added: “The big strikers when they are not scoring so many goals, they are more angry to score and have a chance to score, but its not only Haaland because Doku is a great player for them, and Alvarez.”

Earlier on Friday, Brighton announced highly-rated winger Kaoru Mitoma had signed a new contract.

The 26-year-old, who arrived in 2021, has been a key player in Brighton’s success and will now stay on the south coast until 2027.

De Zerbi said: “It’s great news. Kaoru is our top player.”

Technical director David Weir added: “Ensuring that a player of Kaoru’s quality will remain with us for the long term is fantastic news. Kaoru adapted to the Premier League last season and has quickly become one of our most important players.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox