Roberto De Zerbi claims Brighton were ‘not ready’ for first season in Europe

Roberto De Zerbi believes Brighton “have not been ready” for their first season in Europe.

Coping with extra matches, combined with ongoing injury problems in the squad, contributed to Thursday’s 4-0 defeat at Roma in the last 16 first leg of the Europa League.

De Zerbi said: “It’s different playing one game per week and three games per week, a different sport. I repeated that a lot of times in press conferences earlier in the season and maybe we have not been ready, we have not organised everything in the best way.

“This season can be important for me, for the players, for the club. If we want to compete at this level, you have to organise. You cannot think like last season, or two seasons ago.

“It’s different in terms of how many players you have to bring into the squad, it’s different in everything, day off, organisation of medical staff. We are paying a big, big price, because it’s very tough to accept the defeat in Rome.

“It’s a real pain for me, for the club, for the players, but we have to accept it, to learn in terms of deciding if we want to compete at a high level or not and play one game per week, Wednesday playing golf.”



De Zerbi’s frustrations are bubbling up – so what does it mean for Brighton?

De Zerbi blames himself for using some players too regularly this year. “All people who work in Brighton have to improve from this season,” he said.

“First of all the coach, myself, because I made mistakes from January to March. I played every game with JP van Hecke, (Lewis) Dunk, Bill Gilmour, Pascal Gross, Igor and we reached the crucial moment of the season not in good condition.

“First of all, it is my responsibility. But it is difficult if you have for months five injured players, because we are not used to playing so many games.”

De Zerbi added: “I am sure the next time Brighton will play in European competition, we will be ready to compete and to organise everything better.”

Brighton have slipped to tenth, their lowest position in the Premier League this season, but they will climb back into the top eight if they beat Nottingham Forest at the Amex Stadium today.



Brighton’s dark trip to the Eternal City – for De Zerbi’s team and their fans

(Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

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