19 August 2023

Many Brighton players capable of scoring like Kaoru Mitoma’s stunner – De Zerbi

19 August 2023

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said plenty of players in his squad were capable of scoring goals like Kaoru Mitoma’s stunning effort in his side’s 4-1 Premier League win at Wolves.

The Seagulls sit top of the table after a clinical display at Molineux, with Japan winger Mitoma, Pervis Estupinan and Solly March’s double making it eight goals in two league matches.

De Zerbi, who dedicated his side’s win to former Italian coach Carlo Mazzone – who died on Saturday aged 86 – said he was not surprised by Mitoma’s mesmeric run and finish, which gave his side a slender half-time lead.

The Italian head coach said: “Mitoma is a top player and when you have a top player you can expect goals like today.

“We have not only Mitoma. We have Joao Pedro, (Julio) Enciso, (Danny) Welbeck, (Adam) Lallana, (Evan) Ferguson, (Simon) Adingra, (Solly) March, (Facundo) Buonanotte. I think we are in a very good condition in attack.”

Winger March converted two crosses by Paraguayan teenager Julio Enciso after lung-busting runs into the box and now has three goals in two games.

De Zerbi said: “I spoke with him (March) last season and the beginning of this season. I want him to score more goals. For him and for us.

“If the winger can score a lot of goals, if you check the teams at the top of the table anywhere, the big teams, they have wingers able to score 10 or 15 goals.”

Brighton put Wolves to the sword with three goals in nine minutes at the start of the second half and do not appear to be missing midfield pair Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister, who have departed to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.

But De Zerbi said he hopes to sign a new midfielder, plus one other player before the transfer window closes on September 1.

“I think we have to go into the transfer market,” he added. “Without Caicedo, we have to play in different ways.”

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil has lost both matches in charge of the club after replacing Julen Lopetegui earlier this month.

O’Neil’s side began brightly after impressing in their narrow 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in their opening match, but were brutally punished by Brighton for failing to take their chances.

The former Bournemouth boss said: “I didn’t think it was worlds apart. The scoreline will obviously make most people believe it was, but it wasn’t miles apart.

“Look at the numbers, shots, chances created. But yeah, you can’t miss that many chances.

“It was an aggressive gameplan. We tried to go after Brighton when we could, pressed high and managed to regain the ball a few times.

“There’s risk attached to that, so when we win the ball back and have our chances, we need to score because when it goes to the other end, Brighton were extremely clinical with theirs.”

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