Roberto De Zerbi says he ‘became a coach for Pep Guardiola’ as Brighton draw against Man City
‘I became a coach for Pep Guardiola’: Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi lauds the Man City boss as ‘No 1’ after their 1-1 draw, before insisting ‘we deserve to play in Europe’
Roberto De Zerbi has praised Pep Guardiola claiming that he ‘became a coach for the Spanish manager’ before admitting the Man City boss was ‘number one’.
After the Citizens were crowned Premier League champions on Sunday, Brighton held the title holders to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night, with Julio Enciso cancelling out Phil Foden’s strike in the first half, with a stunning 25-yard effort.
With City now set to challenge for the treble, with an FA Cup final and a Champions League final on the horizon, De Zerbi lauded one of his heros, Guardiola, following Wednesday’s game.
‘I became a coach for Guardiola because I loved his Barcelona,’ he said.
‘I studied him a lot, I didn’t copy him but I took when I started to be a coach, before when I finished to be a player. Pep is still number one.’
Roberto De Zerbi (pictured) has lauded Pep Guardiola as ‘number one’ and claims he ‘became a manager for Pep’
The pair went toe-to-toe in the dug out tonight as Brighton held Man City to a 1-1 draw
The Italian also lauded team and their performances this season, with Brighton having now qualified for the Europa League, finishing seventh in the Premier League standings.
De Zerbi: ‘It was very tough but we knew to play against City is always tough, we played very well, we deserved to get a point, we deserve to play in Europe.
‘The courage. To defend man to man, to play the ball in every situation. We didn’t lose our style.’
Since signing for the club in 2022, Enciso, 19, has scored seven times in 29 appearances across all competitions for the club, with his goal tonight being up there as perhaps the pick of the bunch.
‘Julio’s [Enciso] goal was incredible,’ De Zerbi added. ‘He has big, big potential, I want him to play better and play for the team. If he stays with us I think he can improve.’
Speaking on the season, the 43-year-old claimed he was ‘lucky to have found’ his current group of players, after he succeeded Graham Potter back in September last year.
Guardiola won his third consecutive Premier League title with Man City this weekend
And the Brighton boss also lauded his own team saying ‘we deserve European football’
Julio Enciso’s (right) spectacular 25-yard equaliser helped Brighton hold the title winners to a draw
And there was much to celebrate at the Amex, with Brighton qualifying for the Europa Leauge
‘I didn’t think about the target, I wanted to work and to analyse the team and the players, to understand the new country, the new league. In February I started to think about the goal.’
‘The Premier League is a fantastic competition, the atmosphere is fantastic in every game, there isn’t too much tactical, you play against teams with courage, you try to win the game and not defend counter-attack.
‘I have to say I’m lucky because I found a fantastic group of players. I am a normal coach, a good coach.
‘When I have to analyse I always start with the quality of the players.’