11 November 2023

Roberto De Zerbi: It’s a tough season for Brighton but we are fighting

11 November 2023

Roberto De Zerbi says Brighton are fighting hard to keep their hopes of domestic and European success alive.

The Seagulls squad is being tested to the limit but is so far holding up well, with their victory away to Ajax on Thursday putting them second in their Europa League group.

They are seventh in the Premier League heading into Sunday’s home match against Sheffield United at the Amex Stadium, and De Zerbi knows his players and staff will have to dig deep.

“We are fighting, we are second in our Europa League group and seventh in the Premier League,” he said in quotes published on the club’s X account.

“We lost three important players in the summer and we’re playing three games a week. It’s a tough season, but we are fighting.

“When you aren’t used to the Europa League, you need to focus on the next game. We have to win in the Premier League.

“Clean sheets are an important part of football, but we have to analyse better because we couldn’t keep a clean sheet a lot of times this season.”

The only clean sheets Brighton have managed have been against Ajax home and away. The 20 goals they have conceded in the Premier League so far is the highest number for any team inside the top 10.

Brighton are set to be without defenders Pervis Estupinan and Lewis Dunk, plus midfielder James Milner, against the Blades on Sunday.

Ecuador international Estupinan made his return from a muscle injury that had sidelined him since September 30 as a substitute in Thursday’s Europa League win away to Ajax, but only lasted 12 minutes before being forced off again.

Dunk came off at half-time in Amsterdam with a possible groin injury, while veteran Milner came off in the eighth minute.

“The injuries are a terrible situation, but we can’t change anything,” De Zerbi said.

“We have to focus on the game on Sunday, it’s one of the most important this season.”

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