Since arriving at Brighton and Hove Albion, Roberto De Zerbi has picked up right where former manager Graham Potter left off. Will De Zerbi continue to build upon, if not succeed, the work of his predecessor Graham Potter?
De Zerbi’s impact on the squad
Despite the great work done by Graham Potter, Roberto De Zerbi has improved upon and possibly began to exceed the work of his predecessor. Especially if Brighton qualify for Europe, which seems like a strong possibility.
De Zerbi has already earned plaudits aplenty during his time on the south coast, including the legendary Pep Guardiola. However, it not just his style of football that is earning rave reviews, it is his improvement of the players that has perhaps been the most eye-catching aspect of his reign thus far.
Players that never got much of a look-in under Potter have been transformed under De Zerbi. The most notable examples of this are Japanese winger Kauro Mitoma and recently capped Ireland teenage striker Evan Ferguson.
The transformation of Solly March has also been remarkable, with shouts for the winger to be called up to the England squad. March being called up to the national team was unheard of before De Zerbi’s arrival.
March’s end product has improved significantly under the Italian, showcasing his unique ability to get the best out of players. At the time of writing, March has eight goals in all competitions.
Mitoma and Ferguson flourishing under De Zerbi
Mitoma was often used as an impact substitute under Graham Potter, but when De Zerbi arrived, this changed completely.
The Japanese winger has lit up the Premier League with his dribbling ability and his technical skills. This poses the idea as to why he did not feature much before De Zerbi’s arrival.
He has also added end-product to his game, like Solly March, and is now a key player in Brighton’s push for an unprecedented place in Europe.
Evan Ferguson, given his young age, featured even less under Potter than Mitoma did. But as mentioned previously, Ferguson has now made his senior international debut has elevated him to heights he probably never thought was possible under Potter.
These two players in particular, as well as March, have shown the impact De Zerbi has had on individual players. His impact on players highlights his man-management skills as well as his dedication to improving his players as much as possible.
Can Brighton reach Europe?
Brighton are now a much more adventurous, attacking-minded team under De Zerbi, which is currently serving them very well.
A place in the Champions League still seems far-fetched, but the Europa league, or even the Conference League is attainable. Qualifying for either competition would be just rewards for a squad who continue to over-achieve at every opportunity.
The more established players such as Moises Caicedo and Alexis McAllister will be vital in qualifying for Europe, as well as the players mentioned who have improved leaps and bounds under De Zerbi’s leadership.
The impact of Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton cannot be underestimated. With his revitalization of players and kickstarting the careers of others, he is well underway to becoming a legend already with Brighton supporters.
De Zerbi’s short but impressive tenure will reach a new status if the Seagulls can make the jump to European football.