Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber has saluted "phenomenal" boss Roberto De Zerbi for leading the Seagulls to Europa League qualification.

Brighton will appear on the continent for the first time in their history next season after securing a hugely impressive sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.

De Zerbi has been a revelation since arriving at the Amex Stadium following Graham Potter's move to Chelsea, who subsequently sacked the coach after just under seven months in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Barber has heaped praise upon the Italian, who also guided Brighton to the FA Cup semi-finals, where they were beaten by Manchester United on penalties at Wembley Stadium.

"He's been phenomenal," the Seagulls' chief executive told Stats Perform at the Football Business Awards. 

"It's his first time working in the Premier League. He's had to learn English, he's had to adapt to life in England, he's had to learn a new league, work with new players. So we're thrilled for him, and he's done a fantastic job.

"It's the first time in 122 years that we've reached European football. So it's a fantastic achievement for the coaches and the players, and we're delighted for them. And also, I think it's a great opportunity for the fans to celebrate their club in a new competition for the first time."

It was not all plain sailing for Brighton, who saw key forward Leandro Trossard depart for Arsenal during the January transfer window.

But Barber revealed the club were prepared for any possible setbacks, and while he acknowledges more players may leave, he insists that selling is not a necessity.

"The key thing has been succession planning, we have a plan for key positions within the club, should we lose people in those positions," he explained. "I think that's very important if you want to maintain momentum.

"We're fortunate that we've got a very good owner. We've got a fantastic infrastructure, we sell out all of our games, and we generate great revenues from our sponsors, and from our hospitality and non-matchday work. So no, it's not essential.

"But we also recognise that the best players want to play at the top level and it's possible we will lose players at some point."

Barber is also confident it is only a matter of time before former Seagulls boss Potter is given another opportunity following his poor spell at Chelsea. 

"Graham worked with us for three years," he added. "He did a fantastic job during his time and sometimes when you move to a different club, for whatever reason, it doesn't work out.

"But what we do know is Graham is an excellent coach and an excellent individual. And I'm sure very soon, he'll be back in top-level football."

Roberto De Zerbi is braced for a summer of hard work as Europa League-bound Brighton set about building a squad capable of competing on four fronts.

The Seagulls will play continental football for the first time in their 122-year history next term, in addition to their Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup commitments.

Albion wrapped up a record-breaking sixth-placed finish ahead of Sunday’s climax at Aston Villa, despite operating with a relatively small player pool, particularly during a congested run-in.

Head coach De Zerbi does not believe the club require a raft of new arrivals to be ready for the forthcoming European tour.

Yet the former Shakhtar Donetsk boss is determined to add depth and quality to his squad, especially if in-demand pair Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister are sold.

“Monday starts the toughest period in my season because without football it is difficult,” he said.

“I am looking forward to starting the next pre-season. I think we have to work in this holiday because we have to build a new squad to prepare for the new season.

“I think we don’t need so many players.

“We have to understand if Caicedo, Mac Allister (are sold) – I don’t know which players can leave – then we have to bring very good players because next season will be tougher than this one.”

Brighton defied all expectations during a remarkable campaign by breaking into the top six and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.

Graham Potter oversaw the Seagulls’ strong start before De Zerbi scaled new heights following his predecessor’s departure to Chelsea in September.

The Italian is unsure how much financial backing he will receive in the coming months and insists the scale of the summer overhaul will depend on the number of outgoings.

“I can speak only about the characteristics, the quality of players,” he said. “Money is not my job.

“For sure I can tell you we have to have a stronger squad, a bigger squad because we will play in four competitions.

“And we have to be ready to compete in our way in these four competitions because we arrived with 14, 15 players in the crucial part of the season.

“The next year will be tougher because in the history of the Premier League it can happen that clubs achieve Europa League and the next year you have to fight to avoid relegation.”

Danny Welbeck is loving life under “special man” Roberto De Zerbi and hopes Brighton can keep hold of their highly-rated coach.

De Zerbi has the high-flying Seagulls challenging for European football amid widespread plaudits for his attractive, possession-based style of play.

Eighth-placed Albion underlined their credentials for continental qualification by thrashing Wolves 6-0 on Saturday to register a club-record Premier League win.

Welbeck, who scored twice against Wanderers, believes De Zerbi is doing an “unbelievable job” and is not surprised the Italian continues to be linked with a host of top clubs.

“We’re obviously very happy to have him here,” the forward, who played for Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger earlier in his career, said of his current manager.

“Playing for him and his team and his style, it’s unbelievable.

“I think every single job that comes up, with him doing so well, he’s going to be getting linked to that. But hopefully he’s still here.

“I don’t like to rank managers because I’ve got a lot of respect for each and every one, you learn so much from every single manager you have, but he’s definitely a special manager and the style of play is so enjoyable to play underneath.

“You learn so much every single day. He’s a special man.”

Former England international Welbeck struck either side of half-time against Wolves as Brighton ended a challenging week in emphatic fashion.

Deniz Undav and Pascal Gross also claimed doubles to help the Seagulls bounce back from last weekend’s painful FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester United and a 3-1 midweek defeat at lowly Nottingham Forest.

Albion have already equalled the club-record top-flight points tally of 52 set in 1982, but Welbeck knows De Zerbi will not allow standards to drop going into the final seven matches of the campaign.

“Every single day at the training ground he’s always the same,” said the 32-year-old.

“He’s very direct and he knows how he wants his team to play and, credit to the boys, everybody has bought into his style.

“He keeps everybody motivated, everybody on their toes wanting to be better, wanting to improve, the young players are getting opportunities. He’s doing an unbelievable job.

“I’m loving it. It’s very enjoyable. It’s a great football club to be at.”

Welbeck departed the Wembley pitch before last weekend’s agonising 7-6 shoot-out loss to his former club United due to an injury.

He concedes bouncing back from that deflating defeat was tough.

“It wasn’t easy, but there’s not time really to feel sorry for yourself because that’s not going to get you anywhere,” he said.

“I think the result in midweek against Forest was a little bit of a hangover from the cup semi-final, so we had to pick ourselves up and go again.

“We did (against Wolves) and it sets us in good stead for the rest of the season.”

A top-seven finish and entry into the Europa Conference League is Brighton’s minimum objective.

Welbeck, who has plenty of Champions League and Europa League experience from his time at Old Trafford and Emirates Stadium, is not allowing himself to think too far ahead.

“It’s important to set high aims and, for us to get there, we’ve got to do our job on the pitch and we’re really looking forward to it, it’s exciting times,” he said.

“I don’t really want to talk too much about that until if it actually comes. It would be amazing though.”

Roberto De Zerbi admits he “made some mistakes” by not affording more first-team opportunities to Billy Gilmour and Deniz Undav before their starring roles in Brighton’s stunning 6-0 win over Wolves.

The peripheral pair were handed just their third Premier League starts for the Seagulls during Saturday’s club-record top-flight victory and seized their chances with standout performances.

Former Chelsea midfielder Gilmour was hailed as the best player on the pitch by his manager, while German forward Undav bagged a brace to claim his first league goals in English football.

De Zerbi’s decision to begin with key trio Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Kaoru Mitoma on the bench raised some eyebrows but was quickly forgotten as his reshuffled starting XI delivered in devastating style.

“We are enduring a very tough period, we are playing so many games in a row and we are not used to playing so many games,” the Brighton boss said of his decision to rotate.

“I thought it was good and right to give Mac Allister, Mitoma and Caicedo one game to recover and for Billy Gilmour and Undav and the players who are playing less the possibility to show their quality.

“But the level of Mac Allister, Mitoma and Caicedo is high and to make competition is difficult for Gilmour.

“Gilmour, I think, was the best player on the pitch and I must admit possibly in the past I made some mistakes with him and with Undav because I didn’t give them many possibilities to play.

“But for me it’s difficult. To play without Mac Allister, Mitoma, Solly March, Moises Caicedo, it’s difficult.”

Brighton’s thumping success was the perfect response to a difficult week as Undav, Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck claimed two goals apiece.

Albion suffered penalty shoot-out heartache at the hands of Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final last Sunday and then had their European push dented by a 3-1 midweek loss at relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest.

De Zerbi now has a positive selection headache going into Thursday’s rematch with Erik ten Hag’s United in the league but could be without Joel Veltman after he was substituted in visible distress.

The Italian coach conceded he should have withdrawn Dutch defender Veltman earlier, particularly as fellow right-back Tariq Lamptey is sidelined.

“I hope it will be a small problem,” De Zerbi said of Veltman, who has recently been troubled by a hamstring issue.

“It’s important for us, especially in this moment, because we are playing without Lamptey.

“With or without Joel changes a lot of things because only Pascal Gross can play as a right-back.”

Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui urged his players to quickly move on from the Amex Stadium humiliation.

The former Real Madrid manager also feels it is important to put the current situation into perspective given his club were bottom of the table when he took over following the World Cup.

Wplves host local rivals Aston Villa next weekend, with work still to do to eradicate relegation concerns.

“All together we have to be ready for the next fight because we are in the middle of the battle,” said the Spaniard.

“We lost one battle but not the war, so we have to continue to achieve our aim in the end of the season.

“We are aware that we have not done anything yet and we need to get more points.

“We have to recover our energy and our confidence because we have to remember four months ago we were in the bottom.

“It’s a good thing to remember where we were. Now at least we have the possibility to be out of the relegation and that is a very big aim for us.”

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi does not know whether his side have the squad depth required to cope with a hectic run of games.

The Seagulls’ European dream suffered a big blow on Wednesday night as they were beaten 3-1 at Nottingham Forest, where De Zerbi said his players lacked energy just three days after they lost the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United on penalties.

They now have eight games to play in a month as they aim to qualify for European football for the first time in their history.

Asked whether his squad is light, the Italian replied: “I don’t know. For sure I am honest and I don’t want to speak in this way when we lose the game.

“I am proud of my players even though we lost. We will speak with (chairman) Tony (Bloom) at the end of the season. We are suffering too many injuries in this moment.

“I said this game was the most important game of the season. I knew the game was very, very, very tough. It was very tough for the energy but for the head too. The big teams are used to playing today, tomorrow, at four o’clock in the night, at nine o’clock in the morning, in the afternoon with the rain or sun. We are working on this.

“I think we can reach this level. I am speaking with Tony (Bloom). If we want to reach this level I think it is better to say I know the way. I will work hard to reach this level. I am not speaking about the table, I am speaking about the mentality.”

For Forest, victory gave their survival chances a much-needed shot in the arm as they climbed out of the bottom three.

Boss Steve Cooper was delighted that his side stuck to a plan to deliver a first three points in 12 games.

“We were never going to have a competition of possession or passes with them, because that wouldn’t have been the right plan,” Cooper said. “I asked the players at half-time to continue, not to get too frustrated – because some parts of the game they wouldn’t have enjoyed greatly – but I said they would get their rewards.

“We scored the second goal completely from the plan. The little box they play in midfield, with the centre-backs and the midfield players, is good, but if you do get it, it’s a really open pitch. We managed to take advantage of that.

“The players stuck to the plan brilliantly. It’s not as if we’ve been winning every week, so for the players to show that mentality and confidence in the game…We should take a lot of heart from that.”

Brighton and Hove Albion's Moises Caicedo is confident he will have further chances to join one of the Premier League's elite clubs, though he admits his failed January move to Arsenal was "tough".

Arsenal reportedly saw bids of up to £70million rejected by Brighton in the most recent transfer window, with the 21-year-old publicly expressing his desire to join the league leaders.

Caicedo ultimately stayed put, however, and he even agreed a new long-term contract with the Seagulls in March.

Arsenal were initially expected to make another approach for Caicedo at the end of the season, while Liverpool have also been linked with a move as they look to rebuild their midfield.

While Caicedo struggled amid Arsenal's overtures, he does not believe he has missed his chance to play at the top level.

"I'm sure I'm going to have many more opportunities," Caicedo told The Telegraph. "That's why I continue to do things well. 

"I'd seen a lot of Arsenal before knowing that there was a possibility of me signing for them. I watched them and I liked them because they have very young, talented players and some stars, but they always have that mindset of wanting more.

"It was tough. When I didn't end up going, lots of people would make fun of me on Instagram. I didn't check my social media because it would hurt me to see things."

Roberto De Zerbi has led Brighton to seventh in the Premier League table and into an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, and Caicedo says the Italian's intervention was key to him staying at The Amex Stadium.

"He approached me, we spoke and he told me to be calm, that it wouldn't be the last club that would come in for me, I'd have more opportunities," Caicedo recalled.

"He told me to keep on doing what I was doing and that I'll see in the future I wouldn't be sorry about staying.

"I just want to have a really good season with Brighton now, and then we'll see what happens next season."

Tottenham and Brighton and Hove Albion have each been fined £100,000 for the touchline clash during their Premier League encounter earlier this month.

The incident occurred in the 58th minute of Spurs' 2-1 win over the Seagulls, which saw both bosses – Cristian Stellini and Roberto De Zerbi – sent to the stands.

Tempers had become flared during a game in which Brighton saw two goals and a penalty claim denied after VAR checks, before going on to lose to their hosts.

When asked about the incident after the game on April 8, Spurs interim head coach Stellini told Sky Sports: "I don't like to be involved when there is a fight or something too aggressive. I'm quiet and focused on the game.

"I try to do my job. I want to speak only about my team and the game, not what happened between us and them on the bench."

Fellow Italian De Zerbi responded to BBC Sport: "I am used to always respecting everyone and I want the same towards me."

The FA charged both clubs for the "mass confrontation" and confirmed the fines on Wednesday, saying: "Both clubs admitted they failed to ensure that their benches conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and did not behave in a way which is improper during the 58th minute."

Cristian Stellini has called on Tottenham to take more risks as they approach the first of "eight finals" in the race to secure a top-four Premier League finish. 

Tottenham approach Saturday's meeting with Bournemouth three points adrift of Newcastle United and Manchester United in the battle for Champions League qualification, having played one game more than both sides.

Despite only Arsenal and Manchester City bettering their tally of 55 Premier League goals this term, Spurs attracted criticism for a perceived negative approach under Stellini's predecessor Antonio Conte.

With Tottenham facing an uphill task to reach Europe's premier club competition for a second season in a row, the club's acting head coach is aware they need to step things up in attack.

"We have to play the eight final games like eight finals," Stellini said. "We started with Brighton and now we have eight games. We have to play attacking football. 

"We are trying to push more to create more chances, to try to shoot more on target, to create something that can create a good atmosphere in the stadium, and to get the crowd behind us.

"I think we played many games in the past that were really attractive. For me, it is important to win games in this moment and not only to think about how attractive our football is."

Tottenham's last game – a controversial 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion – was marred by a mass confrontation involving members of both teams' coaching staff, which saw Stellini and opposite number Roberto De Zerbi sent off.

Both teams were charged by the Football Association in the aftermath of that incident, though Stellini and De Zerbi both appear to have avoided touchline bans.

Reflecting on the incident, Stellini said: "What we created in that moment was not a good impression for anyone. Maybe for the atmosphere we created, the decision is good.

"We have to be better and personally, I am happy we showed we are a team, we are linked, we are close and we defend ourselves and our club. 

"At the same time, I am happy because I feel I was not involved in anything, so it is a good decision that I stay on the touchline for tomorrow."

Asked if he had spoken to De Zerbi since the game, Stellini said: "No. This type of thing stays on the pitch, you forget this type of situation immediately after the game. Everything is fine for me."

Cristian Stellini was keen to move on from his touchline spat with Roberto De Zerbi after Tottenham beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in a fiery top-six battle.

Harry Kane hit the winner after Lewis Dunk cancelled out a spectacular opener from Son Heung-min in a bad-tempered Premier League contest on Saturday.

Having been involved in a heated exchange before kick-off, interim Spurs boss Stellini and Brighton head coach De Zerbi were sent off amid a touchline fracas in the second half.

De Zerbi is the only Premier League boss to be shown two red cards this season, while fifth-placed Tottenham are the only other club to suffer two managerial dismissals this term, with Antonio Conte being sent off in a draw with Chelsea back in August.

Asked about the incident, Stellini told Sky Sports: "I don't like to be involved when there is a fight or something too aggressive. I'm quiet and focused on the game. 

"I try to do my job. I want to speak only about my team and the game, not what happened between us and them on the bench. 

"It was an important game and we also beat them in their stadium. Probably every one of us was full of anger and tension. But everything that happened on the pitch stays there, and it does now."

Asked whether he will be friendly with De Zerbi in the future, Stellini added: "Of course. I am a friendly person. Football is enjoyable. 

"You have to enjoy football and when you see something like this, everyone can be disappointed at home. I don't like to show something bad.

"From me, this has never happened. I want to enjoy and fight with my team. If I have power inside me, I want to use it to fight with my team."

During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, meanwhile, De Zerbi said: "I am used to always respecting everyone and I want the same towards me."

Brighton were denied goals in both halves as VAR reviews saw Kaoru Mitoma and Alexis Mac Allister penalised for handball.

Mitoma also felt he was tripped in the area by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before Kane scored what proved to be the winner as Brighton dropped to seventh spot behind Aston Villa.

Seagulls captain Dunk was particularly infuriated by the latter decision, saying: "I thought we were the better team and dominated the game, they created two chances and scored two goals, which is poor from us. 

"I don't understand football sometimes. Apparently one of them hit Alexis on the hand, but on the other one, VAR made a tight decision. 

"Then they can't make a clear decision on the penalty – a clear foul on Mitoma in the box. I don't understand VAR."

Harry Kane hit the winner as Tottenham claimed their first victory since Antonio Conte's departure, beating top-six rivals Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in a feisty contest on Saturday.

Kane found the net with a deflected effort with 11 minutes remaining after Son Heung-min's stunning goal – his 100th in the Premier League – was cancelled out by Lewis Dunk's header.

Roberto De Zerbi joined interim Spurs boss Cristian Stellini in being sent to the stands during a heated affair, with the visitors denied goals in either half for handball offences.

Tottenham's victory keeps them three points behind fourth-placed Manchester United in the race for Champions League qualification, with Brighton seven points further back after a frustrating loss.

Tottenham took the lead in spectacular fashion with their first attempt of the game, Son cutting inside to whip a 25-yard effort beyond Jason Steele and into the top-right corner.

Kaoru Mitoma was denied a leveller as he was penalised for handball before volleying into the bottom-right corner, before Hugo Lloris made two outstanding saves, turning Alexis Mac Allister's long-range effort away and pushing Moises Caicedo's drive onto the post.

However, Brighton's pressure finally told after 34 minutes as Dunk powered in a header from Solly March's corner.

Brighton thought they had the lead when Danny Welbeck's second-half strike deflected off Mac Allister and beyond Lloris, but a VAR review spotted that the ball struck the midfielder's hand.

Having been involved in an animated exchange before kick-off, De Zerbi and Stellini both saw red following a touchline fracas on the hour mark as a tetchy affair threatened to boil over.

Both sides missed chances as they chased a crucial winner to stay in the hunt for the top four, and it was Spurs who got one as Kane's powerful finish deflected into the top-left corner, breaking Brighton's hearts.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi was "very sorry" about predecessor Graham Potter's sacking by Chelsea but lauded his Seagulls legacy.

Potter left Brighton to take the reins at Stamford Bridge last September following the Blues' decision to dismiss Thomas Tuchel.

But the Englishman was shown the door just over six months into the job, with Chelsea mired in mid-table and saddled with a slew of expensive signings.

De Zerbi, who filled the void at Brighton, has sympathy for the man he replaced, thanking him for the squad he was able to inherit.

"I am very sorry [to see him go]," he said. "It is bad news for the coaches. I think you give too much importance to the coaches.

"The players are always the most important and I don't like when coaches are sacked because the responsibility is not only with them.

"The players, the club, it's not very good news. I want to say thanks to Graham Potter. I have a team with a very good attitude and mentality.

"It is difficult when you don't know the situation or another dressing room. I don't like speaking about other teams and coaches. I am sorry because when there are these situations, they are sad."

Having maintained Potter's promising start to the season to keep Brighton in the thick of a surprise European race, De Zerbi has already been linked with replacing him again at Chelsea.

The Italian is focused squarely on the Seagulls, however, adding: "We are playing very well at the moment, but if we want to reach our target, we have to improve.

"Our target is to play in Europe. Which competition? We will see. We want to play three times a week next year."

Just 206 days after Chelsea owner Todd Boehly assured the world that incoming head coach Graham Potter would be given time at Chelsea, the American decided to terminate the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss' contract.

That is fewer days in charge than any permanent manager/head coach at Stamford Bridge during the Roman Abramovich era, but it was not a decision taken without reason.

Chelsea sit 11th in the Premier League, with 38 points from 28 games their worst total at this stage since the 1994-95 season (36), while the Blues are in the bottom half of the table after at least 28 games for the first time since 1995-96, when they finished 11th.

Potter won just 12 of his 31 games in charge after arriving from Brighton in September (D8 L11), ultimately paying the price after Chelsea's dismal 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday.

So who will Boehly turn to next having given up on the Potter project? Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the early favourites.

Julian Nagelsmann

The German will probably have been the first name many thought of when news of Potter's sacking broke on Sunday, with Nagelsmann facing the same fate at Bayern Munich just a few days prior.

It would be somewhat of a coincidence given the 35-year-old was replaced at Bayern by former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, who had been replaced at Stamford Bridge by Potter.

Nagelsmann has been one of the most highly-rated young coaches in Europe since his work at Hoffenheim, where he boasted a record of 55 wins from 136 games (40 per cent), before upping that win percentage at RB Leipzig to 57 (54 wins from 95 games).

That was enough to convince Bayern he should replace Hansi Flick in July 2021, but despite winning the Bundesliga in what proved to be his only full season at the Allianz Arena, and reaching the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League, the club removed him.

Several of his former players at Bayern praised him in the days since, but you do wonder if someone who was not deemed a good fit at a similarly sized and demanding club would be a good fit for Chelsea.


Brendan Rodgers

The former Liverpool and Leicester City boss was sacked by the Foxes just hours before Potter got his marching orders, and on paper it doesn't sound like it would be much of an improvement.

Rodgers almost won the Premier League title with Liverpool in 2013-14 before his team regressed the following season after selling Luis Suarez, but he repaired his reputation at the King Power Stadium.

He won the FA Cup in 2020-21, beating Chelsea 1-0 in the final, and ended his time with the Foxes with a record of 92 wins from 204 games (D42 L70), a win percentage of 45.

Rodgers did learn the ropes as a youth coach at Chelsea though, and is arguably more of the same should Boehly still like the idea of a Potter-type of coach who favours a mix of pressing and possession.

It does feel like a job a bit beyond the 50-year-old, though it was not that long ago that some pundits were suggesting Arsenal should sack Mikel Arteta and hire Rodgers. Football, eh?

Mauricio Pochettino

The Argentinian was a very popular figure during his time at Tottenham, and he has been strongly linked with succeeding Antonio Conte at his former club.

Pochettino may not have won a trophy at Spurs, but he presided over two title challenges and the run to the 2019 Champions League final, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

His five-year reign included 113 wins from 202 Premier League games, a points-per-game (PPG) average of 1.89, before he was eventually dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy after appearing to take the club as far as he could.

Pochettino landed at Paris Saint-Germain, where he won a Ligue 1 title as well as a Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions, but failures in the Champions League and losing out on the 2020-21 French title to Lille were low points, albeit he only took over halfway through that season.

He is therefore perhaps more suited to more of an underdog than one that operates in the way Chelsea does.

On the other hand, perhaps he could tempt Harry Kane across London.

Luis Enrique

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player most recently won 27 of 48 games as Spain head coach, but international football can be a different world to the top-level club game.

Luis Enrique was very successful in his last club job at Barca, though it admittedly helped having a front three of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar all at their peak.

He won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns, a Supercopa de Espana, a European Super Cup and a Club World Cup, as well as the 2014-15 Champions League as part of a historic treble.

Overall, Luis Enrique won 87 of his 114 LaLiga games (2.4 PPG), and has shown that he can take a team of superstars and get plenty out of them while managing egos.

However, the fact he has not had a club job since 2017 might be seen as problematic by some fans, while it could also be argued he underachieved with Spain.

Roberto De Zerbi

It would really be a kick in the teeth for Brighton to have Chelsea take another of their head coaches so soon after luring Potter away, but on paper, this could make all the sense in the world for the Blues.

Potter earned the Chelsea gig from the fantastic work he did on the south coast, with De Zerbi replacing him as Seagulls boss after his departure.

The Italian has taken Brighton to another level since his arrival, with the club remarkably still in with a reasonable chance of finishing in the European spots, and perhaps even the top four.

De Zerbi has averaged 1.50 points per game, winning eight of his 20 league games in charge, as well as guiding Brighton to the FA Cup semi-finals.

Having De Zerbi develop the foundations laid by Potter could work twice, though it would likely cost Chelsea a fortune to find out, not that that usually deters them.

With Antonio Conte expected to leave Tottenham by the end of the week, attention is already turning to who might be next to try their hand at what continues to look a near-impossible job.

Spurs are a big club with a fabulous stadium, passionate fanbase and talented squad.

Despite the relative success of Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino in the last two decades, as well as investing in high-profile bosses Jose Mourinho and Conte, none have been able to bring silverware to the north London club.

The only trophy Spurs have claimed since the turn of the century was the EFL Cup in 2007-08, and any new manager/head coach will be tasked with ending that drought as soon as possible, as well as ensuring another season of Champions League football.

Stats Perform looks at some of the early favourites, with Conte seemingly on the brink.

Mauricio Pochettino

The Argentinian was a very popular figure during his time at White Hart Lane – and subsequently Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Pochettino may not have won a trophy, but he presided over two title challenges and the run to the 2019 Champions League final, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

He mostly got the best out of his players, too, and took many of them to another level.

His five-year reign included 113 wins from 202 Premier League games, a points-per-game (PPG) average of 1.89, very slightly higher than Conte's 1.88 (32 wins from 56 games).

Pochettino was eventually dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy after appearing to take the club as far as he could, so going back to him when still looking someone to take them to the next level might be a little backwards.

He would likely be a popular choice with the fans, though, and should at the very least provide some stability. Perhaps crucially, he might also be their best bet in convincing Harry Kane to stay.

Ryan Mason

It wouldn't technically be a return for Mason as he never actually left, taking on a first-team coach role after the end of his interim spell at the helm following the sacking of Mourinho in April 2021.

His second game in charge was a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final, but Mason arguably did well considering his lack of experience.

Given he only took charge of six matches, it seems a little pointless to stake a claim for Mason based on his own PPG record (2.0).

But the former Spurs midfielder is the heavy favourite for the job, even if only on a short-term basis again.

Similarly to Pochettino, the thinking behind that choice would most likely be stability and that decision makers at the club may feel the players are likely to respond positively to someone they already know.

Unless he performs spectacularly, appointing Mason would probably be followed by a full-time hire at the end of the season.

Thomas Tuchel

While Tuchel would be yet another former Chelsea boss taking the reins, following in the footsteps of Glenn Hoddle, Andre Villas-Boas, Mourinho and Conte, it's hard to argue with his credentials.

The German won 35 of 63 Premier League games with the Blues, a PPG average of 1.94, as well as winning the Champions League in 2021.

Considering Spurs are eager to win a first trophy since 2008, the fact Tuchel guided Chelsea to five finals – including the 2021 Club World Cup – in less than two years will no doubt appeal, even if he did lose three of them.

Tuchel reportedly left Stamford Bridge partly due to a disagreement on transfers with owner Todd Boehly, which may not bode well given Conte's consistent complaining about the way Spurs work in the market.

Either way, the man who shared a furious handshake with Conte earlier this season could well be the same person to replace the Italian in the Spurs dugout.


Luis Enrique

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player most recently won 27 of 48 games as Spain head coach, but international football can be a different world to the top-level club game.

Luis Enrique was very successful in his last club job at Barca, though it admittedly helped having a front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all at their peak.

He won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns, a Supercopa de Espana, a European Super Cup and a Club World Cup, as well as the 2014-15 Champions League as part of a historic treble.

Overall, Luis Enrique won 87 of his 114 LaLiga games (2.4 PPG), but it is difficult to compare this to counterparts at Spurs given Barca's relative dominance in Spain.

His record at Roma earlier in his career could be a better barometer, winning 16 of his 38 Serie A games in charge of the Giallorossi (1.5 PPG), before winning 14 of 38 LaLiga matches as head coach of Celta Vigo (1.3 PPG) before heading to Camp Nou. But how relevant are these spells now given he left Balaidos nine years ago?

Similarly, the fact he's not had a club job since 2017 might be seen as problematic by some fans, while it could also be argued he underachieved with Spain.

Roberto De Zerbi

De Zerbi has made his mark on the Premier League very quickly since replacing Graham Potter at Brighton and Hove Albion in September.

Brighton have thrived and find themselves in a genuine fight for Europe, with a top-four finish not out of the question at this stage as they sit seven points behind fourth-placed Spurs with three games in hand.

De Zerbi has won eight of his 19 Premier League games, while the Seagulls rank second in the Premier League for passing accuracy (86.9 per cent), average possession (62.1 per cent) and passes per sequence (4.5). They are also third for goals (35) and fifth for passes played into the opposition's box since his first game, highlighting an attack-minded approach that would certainly be appreciated by a frustrated Spurs fanbase.

Getting him out of Brighton will be easier said than done, however, having already lost one head coach this season, not to mention their renown for getting a good deal – Potter reportedly cost Chelsea £21.5million.

Spurs will almost certainly have to pay through the nose or look elsewhere.

Oliver Glasner

A surprise name that has emerged in recent days is that of Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner, who impressed so many by leading the Bundesliga club to Europa League success last season.

Glasner made a promising start to his coaching career in his native Austria with Ried and LASK, before guiding Wolfsburg to seventh and fourth-placed finishes in the German top-flight.

He then made the switch to Eintracht ahead of the 2021-22 season. He could only guide them to 11th in the Bundesliga, winning just three of their 17 games in the second half of the campaign, but this came amid the backdrop of Europa League glory, eliminating Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham before beating Rangers in the final on penalties.

Some reports suggest Levy has already contacted Glasner, whose contract expires in 2024.

This season, Eintracht sit sixth in the league and were recently knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Napoli.

Roberto De Zerbi is content at Brighton and Hove Albion and is focused on helping the Seagulls make history this season, amid speculation linking him with Tottenham. 

De Zerbi has enjoyed a tremendous impact at Brighton since succeeding Graham Potter in September, leading the Seagulls into contention for European qualification. 

Brighton are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Spurs in the Premier League table with three games in hand, while their tally of 43 goals this season is already their best in the competition.

With De Zerbi's side flying, he – along with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Frank and Steve Cooper – has been touted as a possible successor to Antonio Conte, who appears destined to leave Spurs by the end of the campaign.

Asked about those links at a press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, De Zerbi said: "I have a long contract with Brighton and I'm happy to work here.

"I'm enjoying working with these players, I'm delighted with my players for their performance and I can't ask for more, it's a good moment in my life."

Ahead of the trip to Elland Road, Brighton are unbeaten in their last five Premier League away games (W3 D2), the joint-longest current run in the competition, alongside Brentford.

Brighton have also failed to score just once in 11 away league games this term (0-2 at Brentford in October) – no Premier League side have drawn a blank on fewer road trips (Arsenal also one).

With Brighton earning plaudits for their enterprising style and with the race for European qualification wide open, De Zerbi is aware of the potential their campaign holds.

"People are speaking about our quality of play, and for that I am proud. But we have to be focused only on the next games. We have a clear target," he said.

"We have a dream. We know we can write a new history for the club. This is a nice challenge. 

"It will be difficult. We know what we can expect, but now we are able to win. I think now we have a complete squad with many young players, we are stronger.

"We want to arrive in Europe but we have to push and take it game by game. Tomorrow starts a difficult period with three games in a week, but we are ready to fight for our targets."

Moises Caicedo deserves to be supported rather than shunned by Brighton and Hove Albion supporters after his failed attempt to force through a move to Arsenal.

That was the message on Friday from head coach Roberto De Zerbi, who said the 21-year-old midfielder was "a fantastic guy" who could still play a big role for Brighton in the second half of the season.

Caicedo went public with his desire to leave for what he described as a "magnificent opportunity" in an Instagram post that explicitly signalled his intentions.

Yet Brighton chairman Tony Bloom baulked at the idea of budging on his valuation of a star player after already losing Leandro Trossard to the Premier League leaders.

Brighton turned down two bids – reportedly of £60million and £70m, with £90m said to be the asking price – before the January transfer window closed, and De Zerbi was delighted the Seagulls kept Caicedo.

Arsenal instead spent relative pocket change on Jorginho, a £12m buy from Chelsea. It remains to be seen whether they return in the close season for Ecuador international Caicedo, who has been back in training with Brighton since Wednesday.

Brighton sit sixth in the Premier League at the midway point of their season and host lowly Bournemouth on Saturday.

De Zerbi said of the Caicedo saga: "I am very happy Moises stays with us until the end of the season. I want to speak to our fans because I want them to support him. I don't want them to criticise him. I love Moises, the people who work inside Brighton love Moises.

"I don’t know if he made a mistake or not, but the transfer market is closed, and the fans must follow me because I take the responsibility of him. If I say something so clear about Moises, they have to believe in me."

Caicedo is one of just three midfielders to have managed 50 tackles and 250 forward passes in the Premier League this season, along with Manchester United's Casemiro and Leeds United's Tyler Adams.

Arsenal would have found his numbers attractive, with manager Mikel Arteta looking to bolster a team who have shot to the top of the league and continued to win, keeping Manchester City at bay for now.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Caicedo did not delete his Instagram message once it became clear he would not get his dream move. It remained up on Friday, three days after the transfer window closed.

De Zerbi added: "I don't know the situation in the future, but he's a good guy and I want to defend him now. In other times I spoke a different way for the other players, but for Moises it's different.

"We need the performance of Moises. He's a fantastic guy, and so I don't want to listen to any criticism."

Page 1 of 3
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.