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HomeUEFA Europa LeagueRoberto De Zerbi urges 'high quality' Brighton to have a winning mentality

Roberto De Zerbi urges ‘high quality’ Brighton to have a winning mentality

Roberto De Zerbi emphasized the significance of altering the atmosphere at Brighton after their 2-0 victory over Ajax at the Amex Stadium, marking their inaugural European win.

This victory halted a streak of five winless matches, during which the club contended with numerous injuries throughout their first-ever Europa League campaign. Nevertheless, their European aspirations received a significant boost as they triumphed over the four-time European champions.

Brighton dominated the game from the very beginning, overpowering a lackluster Ajax side. Ajax had recently parted ways with manager Maurice Steijn due to their worst-ever start in the Eredivisie, and their lackluster performance barely posed a threat to Brighton’s goal.

Joao Pedro scored by tapping in the rebound from Karou Mitoma’s shot, breaking the deadlock just before half-time and granting Brighton a well-deserved lead. The advantage was extended eight minutes into the second half when Barcelona loanee Ansu Fati displayed brilliant control to evade his defender and calmly slotted the ball into the corner after being set up by Simon Adingra.

This victory marked their first win in three attempts during their inaugural European campaign, elevating them to third place in Group B and bringing them within a point of group leaders Marseille, with whom they had drawn three weeks ago in France.

A victory in the return match against Ajax in Amsterdam in November will position them favorably to qualify for the knockout rounds, with two more group games to follow.

“The focus today has been the first win in European competition for Brighton, for our fans, for our club, for our owner and for ourselves,” said De Zerbi. “We didn’t deserve to lose against AEK (Athens), and today we wanted 150 per cent the victory.

De Zerbi revels in Brighton’s first European win

“And We played a great game with high quality. We could score more goals, but the most important thing is we didn’t concede and we closed the game with a clean sheet.

“For us in this moment, it’s important to change the mood, to start winning games, to start to play better because we (have not been) playing like last season.”

The manager commended the performances of his two goalscorers, with Joao Pedro leading the team’s European scoring charts with four goals in three games, and Ansu Fati continuing his adjustment to English football after his move from La Liga.

“Both are great players, (but) I think both can play better,” said De Zerbi. “We are helping a lot Ansu because he didn’t play so many games last year, for him he’s started a new football life. He’s an incredible player, Joao Pedro as well.

“They’re very young, we have to help them to progress, but they have to help themselves first of all, working hard during the week, and during the game. But they are both incredible players.”

He added: “The level of difficulty is more or less the same (between the Premier League and Europa League), but it’s tougher this season because after 48, 72 hours we have another important game against Fulham.

“This is the challenge that is most difficult for us. We have to accept the honour, because we made history for our club.

“It’s unbelievable and it’s proud for us to be part of this history, but in the same way we have to fight and to adapt, be ready to fight and enjoy and make happy our fans. Playing in Europe for Brighton is a big, big thing.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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