Thursday, June 20, 2024

Outgoing Brighton boss De Zerbi not walking into new job

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 May 2024

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Roberto De Zerbi insisted he does not have another job lined up after overseeing his final game as Brighton and Hove Albion boss on Sunday.

One day after surprisingly announcing De Zerbi’s departure, Brighton ended their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United.

That meant they slipped below rivals Crystal Palace to finish 11th in the table, their first bottom-half placing since finishing 16th in 2020-21.

De Zerbi has been linked with several big clubs since leading Brighton to European qualification last season, with Bayern Munich, Milan and Napoli touted as possible landing spots for the former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk coach.

However, De Zerbi says he has not reached an agreement with any other club, telling reporters: “There isn’t any club – no-one offered me anything. At the moment, nothing.

“I hope to work in the Premier League again. I don’t know where or when, but it was an honour to work in the Premier League.”

Sunday’s defeat was De Zerbi’s 70th Premier League game in charge of Brighton, with his top-flight win percentage of 37 per cent (26/70) the highest of any boss in the Seagulls’ history.

Battling a lengthy injury list for much of 2023-24, Brighton made a total of 143 changes to their starting lineup throughout the course of the campaign, with only Manchester City in 2019-20 (144) ever making more in a single Premier League season.

Asked by BBC Match of the Day if there was a particular reason for his exit, the Italian added: “We didn’t find the agreement to move on. I want to keep my way.

“I know very well what I want to do and I know I am a coach and I have to accept the policies of the club.

“They gave me an incredible chance. They gave me the possibility to know incredible people, to play and to work in the Premier League, to play in the Europa League. They gave me the opportunity to know this club, this city, these fans and that I cannot forget.”

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna and Nice coach Francesco Farioli have both been tipped as possible contenders to replace De Zerbi, with Brighton having a reputation for excellent succession planning under owner Tony Bloom.

Asked about the search for a replacement on Sunday, Bloom said: “We always try and have a plan. We have got a plan. We now need to execute that plan.”

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