During the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 Group B match against AFC Ajax at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Head Coach of Brighton & Hove Albion, Roberto De Zerbi, was observed enthusiastically guiding his players. De Zerbi, who recently participated in an exclusive interview with TNT Sports, shared his unique qualities that distinguish him from his fellow Italian managers, Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti. Since September 2022, De Zerbi has been recognized for implementing an aggressive and daring approach to the game. The approach adopted by De Zerbi differs from the careful approach commonly preferred by numerous Italian coaches. During a discussion with Joe Cole prior to Brighton’s upcoming UEFA Europa League match against AEK Athens, De Zerbi provided insight into his distinctive approach.
De Zerbi clarified to TNT Sports’ Cole, “My style and concepts originate from my experience as a player. Ancelotti played as a midfielder, Ranieri as a defender, and I played as a number 10. Therefore, my approach leans more towards an offensive strategy rather than the traditional Italian style.” Brighton, under De Zerbi’s leadership, secured a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season. However, their current position in the table is eighth, with only one victory since September. On the other hand, their performance in the UEFA Europa League has shown more promise. They currently hold the second position in Group B, having achieved two victories, one draw, and one loss.
When analyzing their struggles in the Premier League, De Zerbi emphasized the departure of Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool as a significant contributing factor. He clarified that last season, they utilized a formation with four attackers, and Mac Allister often assumed the role of a number 10. In the midst of these difficulties, Pascal Gross has stood out as one of Brighton’s top performers this year. De Zerbi had only positive things to say about the midfielder, declaring, “Pascal is one of the most exceptional players I’ve had the privilege of coaching. People are now beginning to acknowledge his talent, but for me, it comes as no surprise. He is already capable of competing in the Champions League and being a key player for Germany. He has the ability to take Brighton to the next level.”