Brighton appoint Roberto de Zerbi as new manager

Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed the appointment of Roberto de Zerbi as their new head coach.

Roberto de Zerbi

Roberto de Zerbi, 43, has replaced Graham Potter at the Amex Stadium, signing a four-year deal with the club. Graham Potter left Brighton for Chelsea after the Blues came calling following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, and although the Seagulls were reluctant to lose him after an incredible start to the new Premier League campaign, it became clear that Potter wanted to take the vacant job at Stamford Bridge.

De Zerbi has been out of work since leaving Shakhtar Donetsk in July following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Italian tactician earned rave reviews for his aggressive and pressing style of play at Sassuolo, where he spent three years. He has also managed Italian clubs like Benevento and Palermo.

The 43-year-old’s first competitive game as Brighton’s head coach will be after the international break against Liverpool. Games against Tottenham, Brentford and Brighton will follow, before De Zerbi’s men face daunting tasks against Manchester City and Chelsea.

What to expect from Roberto de Zerbi at Brighton?

Roberto de Zerbi is one of the highly-rated young managers in Europe known for playing the kind of football that fans have watched Brighton play under Graham Potter in the last couple of years. His Sassuolo team became one of the most tactically exciting sides in Serie A, showing great flexibility while attacking in possession, most notably when they played out from the back.

Sassuolo were well-drilled, excellent at beating the press after attracting their opponents toward them before switching play to the other side, where their players had spaces to exploit against isolated opposition. De Zerbi wants his team to dominate possession, playing short and safe passes to invite the opponents’ press and bypassing them entirely with an incisive pass or a long ball from deep positions.

Brighton players may not face many problems adapting to De Zerbi’s system, having developed so well into a possession-based footballing side under their previous manager. Without the ball, De Zerbi will get Brighton to press and mark proactively. He will want his new group of players to win the ball back in transition, rather than recovering and waiting for his opponent to commit a mistake.

The 43-year-old comes with a CV that saw him lead Sassuolo to two eighth-place finishes in Serie A and win the Ukrainian Super Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk last year. In addition, he is impeccable at man-management and known for getting the best out of players, on and off the pitch.

Potter’s departure to Chelsea was a massive loss for Brighton, but in De Zerbi they have a coach more than capable of replacing the Englishman and taking the Sussex-based outfit to greater heights in the coming years.

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