New Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi reveals Pep Guardiola’s stamp of approval

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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New Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi has been given a stamp of approval for picking Albion from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as the Italian pledged to keep the club on track for his pre-season ambitions of a top 10 finish in the Premier League.

The 43-year-old insisted he chose Brighton from a host of other managerial opportunities and said he was delighted to succeed Graham Potter with the Seagulls.

Brighton vice-chairman Paul Barber has called De Zerbi a “good natural fit” to take the club forward after Potter left for Chelsea earlier this month.

Barber and owner Tony Bloom insisted De Zerbi was on a shortlist of people to take the helm, with the club and the new manager believing their qualities and vision aligned.

“Brighton strongly wanted me as a coach, and their style of play is very similar to my idea of ​​football,” said De Zerbi.

“We met just after we started talking. Of course, other teams have been interested in me but I’m delighted to be here. I think we’re on the same page and I’m sure we can do it well.

“I spoke to Pep on Sunday evening, yes. He is very happy that I am on board here. He told me very good things about the club. And he told me that if I needed to, he would be very happy to help me – but of course not in the game we are playing against them!

“I think the right vision is to try to always improve. And of course last season ended ninth so our vision is to stay in the top 10 teams in the league. For me that’s a big challenge. I come to work in the most important league in the world.

“I come here very humble because I know where I come to work. But of course, I come here with my personality, to do what I know how to do, bringing here my experiences of what I know how to do.

Roberto De Zerbi was joined by Tony Bloom (left) at his introductory press conference

(PA wire)

Brighton owner Bloom hailed former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk boss De Zerbi’s sharp analysis of the Seagulls which impressed in interviews.

“Roberto is a very good choice for the club, for the players we have and for the style,” Bloom said. “There are a lot of similarities between Graham Potter and Roberto, and that was a very important thing for us.

“When we met Roberto the conversation was smooth, it went very well. We are really confident that we have the right head coach for this football club at the moment.

“I think Roberto had done his homework, he knew a lot about the football club over the last few years. It was only a few days after Graham left, so I was quite impressed with the job he had done.

“I think the person is absolutely essential; When we hire a head coach, it’s the person, the coach, the personality, the compatibility with the club. All the pieces have to fit properly, and they absolutely did with Roberto; he is a natural candidate for this club.

De Zerbi has received clearance from the FA to start working with the Seagulls, with his work permit approved in the final stages.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cut short De Zerbi’s spell at Shakhtar, leaving the Italian coach with no choice but to change his career course.

“The choice to coach in Ukraine was mine, I had chances to stay in Serie A but I chose to go to Shakhtar,” said De Zerbi. “I made this decision for the players, the club, the opportunity to play in the Champions League.

“And of course I didn’t expect it all to end when it happened because of the start of [the] conflict. It was also wrong to leave something that was going very well. What can I do except continue to work with the same passion that I have always shown?

“I will always have that experience, at the club and with the people.”

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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