EPL

Roberto De Zerbi confident Brighton can secure European football for next season

By Sports Desk April 12, 2024

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi believes his side are still capable of securing a place in Europe for a second successive season.

The Seagulls are 10th in the Premier League with seven games of a campaign memorable for a first foray into continental competition remaining.

Current form is not good, however, with just one win from the last six league outings, but De Zerbi is optimistic.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley, the Italian said: “It’s difficult to understand how many points we need, but we have to think game by game.

“I think we have the chance to reach Europe. It’s tough because there are a lot of strong and very good teams, but we have the chance.

“The schedule is not the best, but we’re going to find a lot of teams who play in Europe – Man City, Chelsea plays in the FA Cup, Aston Villa are playing in Conference League.

“I think we have the chance and we have to believe in that, and we have to win, for sure.

“I would like to play next season again in Europe. I think this season we are paying a lot, a big price, for the first experience in the Europa League, but the second one can be easier.”

Brighton are also hampered by a lengthy injury list. Tariq Lamptey and Julio Enciso are the latest additions after suffering knocks in last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal, taking the number of casualties to nine.

De Zerbi said: “The situation is tough. We have still nine injured players – yes, nine.

“It’s more or less the same squad we played against Arsenal but no Tariq. Julio Enciso is the ninth injured player.”

Solly March, Jack Hinshelwood, Karou Mitoma, Billy Gilmour, Evan Ferguson, Adam Webster and James Milner also remain on the sidelines.

Of those, Gilmour, Webster and Milner seem the closest to returning.

De Zerbi said: “Billy is better. I don’t know how much time he needs to start with us on the pitch, but he’s better. James Milner, the same.

“I think Webster, Milner and Bill can be available (in) the next weeks.”

De Zerbi also confirmed goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, who has started the last five matches, will retain his place.

He said: “Bart plays tomorrow, starts at the beginning in the first XI. I’m happy and lucky to work with Bart and Jason (Steele) as well.

“They are different players, different keepers, but both are very good, very important for Brighton.”

Related items

  • Bayern Munich confirm shock appointment of Kompany Bayern Munich confirm shock appointment of Kompany

    Bayern Munich have confirmed the appointment of Vincent Kompany as their new head coach.

    Kompany has joined Bayern on a three-year deal, and comes in as Thomas Tuchel's replacement.

    The former Manchester City captain, who began his coaching career in Belgium with Anderlecht, could not keep Burnley in the Premier League in 2023-24.

    Indeed, the Clarets were relegated following a 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest at Turf Moor in their penultimate match of the season.

    Yet, less than two weeks after the campaign's conclusion, Kompany has been installed as boss of one of Europe's biggest clubs. 

    The 38-year-old joins Bayern after Tuchel confirmed talks over potentially reversing the decision for him and the club to part ways, which came in February, had ended.

    Bayern lost their last game of the Bundesliga season to finish in third place, having failed to win any of the four trophies they were in contention for, seeing their dominance of Germany's top tier ended by Xabi Alonso's unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen team.

    Alonso had been Bayern's primary target, but their former midfielder has elected to stay at Leverkusen for next season.

    Bayern were also linked with Roberto De Zerbi, who has just left Brighton, and Brentford coach Thomas Frank, while they were turned down by Austria coach Ralf Rangnick. Mauricio Pochettino, who left Chelsea on Monday, was also rumoured as a potential option.

    Kompany, then, is a surprise pick, but Bayern will be hoping he rediscovers the magic touch he had during his first season at Turf Moor in 2022-23, when he guided the Clarets to promotion from the Championship, earning 101 points in the process.

    However, Kompany's possession-based, front-foot approach was badly exposed in the Premier League, with Burnley winning just five games on their way to taking 24 points as they finished 19th, going back down alongside Luton Town and Sheffield United.

    He leaves Burnley having managed 96 games, winning 41 (42.7 per cent) of those matches.

    In a statement, Burnley said they were "initially confident" of keeping Kompany at the club, but claimed "the changing dynamics of the situation made this impossible". 

    "We understand the allure and prestige of a club like Bayern Munich and respect Vincent's ambition to explore new opportunities," the statement continued. 

    "We wish only the best for Vincent and would like to put on record our appreciation for his dedication every single day he was a part of this football club. 

    "Our priority remains the stability and success of Burnley, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that our ambition is realised, namely our return to the Premier League."

  • De Jong and Depay make final Netherlands squad for Euro 2024, Maatsen cut De Jong and Depay make final Netherlands squad for Euro 2024, Maatsen cut

    Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay have been included in the Netherlands' final Euro 2024 squad despite fitness concerns, with Borussia Dortmund's Ian Maatsen among those cut.

    Earlier this month, coach Ronald Koeman named a 30-man preliminary squad for the Oranje's Euro 2024 campaign, which begins against Poland on June 16.

    De Jong was included despite not playing for Barcelona since April 21 due to an ankle issue, while Atletico Madrid's Depay only recently returned to action following a six-week spell on the sidelines.

    Both players have avoided being cut from Koeman's initial selection, with Atalanta's Marten De Roon already confirmed as missing out due to a muscle injury.

    Joining De Roon in missing the tournament are Feyenoord's Quinten Timber and Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Nick Olij.

    Perhaps more surprisingly, Dortmund's Chelsea loanee Maatsen – who will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday – has been cut.

    After taking on Poland in Hamburg, the Oranje face France in a heavyweight clash in Leipzig then round off their Group D campaign against Ralf Rangnick's Austria.

    Final 26-man Netherlands squad: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Mark Fleken (Brentford), Bart Verbruggen (Brighton and Hove Albion), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Girona), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Denzel Dumfries (Inter), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Jeremy Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Micky van de Ven (Tottenham), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Ryan Gravenberch (Liverpool), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Tijjani Reijnders (Milan), Jerdy Schouten (PSV), Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig), Joey Veerman (PSV), Georginio Wijnaldum (Al-Ettifaq), Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Brian Brobbey (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Atletico Madrid), Cody Gakpo (Liverpool), Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund), Wout Weghorst (Hoffenheim).

  • Flick believes possession-based style makes him ideal Barcelona boss Flick believes possession-based style makes him ideal Barcelona boss

    Hansi Flick believes the philosophy and principles of Barcelona closely resemble his own and is excited to get started after succeeding Xavi at Camp Nou.

    On Wednesday, Barca confirmed former Bayern Munich boss Flick had signed a two-year contract to take over as head coach following Xavi's surprise dismissal. 

    Xavi had initially announced his departure in January, only for president Joan Laporta to convince him to conduct a U-turn and commit his future to the club. Amid reports of unrest behind the scenes, Barca then decided to part ways with the former midfielder.

    Flick, who won two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League during a two-year spell with Bayern, is committed to conforming to Barca's traditions.

    "It's a big honour and a dream for me to sign my contract here in Barcelona, with this amazing club," he told the club's media channels.

    "The club is unbelievable. In the hours I was here in Barcelona, it has been amazing. Everyone loves the club and wants to have success.

    "The philosophy they have for the club, it's similar to mine, with more possession and really attacking football. These are the things I love.

    "Barcelona has one of the best academies in the world, a mix between some of the best players in the world and young, talented players. 

    "I won some titles with Bayern Munich and my hunger for titles is really big. I would like to stay on this path with Barcelona and I think we can achieve a lot together."

    Flick's Bayern side were known for their high-pressing, possession-based brand of football. 

    Between his appointment in November 2019 and his exit in June 2021, they averaged the highest possession share in the Bundesliga (62.55 per cent) and won the ball in the final third 489 times, 172 clear of Borussia Dortmund, who were second by that metric (317).

    They also led the way for wins (45), total shots (1,023) and goals (174) in that span, averaging exactly three goals per Bundesliga outing.

    Barca will hope Flick's arrival gets more out of Robert Lewandowski, who set the Bundesliga's single-season goal record under him in 2020-21, netting 41 times in 29 matches.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.