Roberto De Zerbi insists injury-hit Brighton have nothing to lose as their quest to reach Europe draws to a climax.
Seventh-placed Albion travel to title challengers Arsenal on Sunday – the first of five Premier League fixtures in just 15 days.
Seagulls head coach De Zerbi, who is juggling a series of fitness issues after Solly March and Adam Webster were ruled out, described the hectic fixture list as “impossible”.
Yet the Italian says the prospect of the south-coast club securing continental qualification was regarded in similar terms not so long ago and believes the only genuine failure would be to not set challenging objectives.
“We don’t feel the pressure because we fixed our target higher than normal situations,” he said.
“Before I started to work here, the target was 10th place and after two months I fixed the target in Champions League, Europa League and I am not afraid if we don’t achieve our target.
“You lose when you don’t fight, when you don’t compete, when you don’t try and you don’t fix the target higher.
“If we don’t achieve our target, we will lose nothing in my head.
“If I don’t achieve my target, you will say: ‘Roberto, you lose your target’. But I have a different vision, I have different opinion about this.
“To play five games in 15 days will be impossible, I think. But impossible was to achieve Europa League three or four months ago.”
March and Webster have joined Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Jakub Moder and Jeremy Sarmiento on the sidelines ahead of the visit to Emirates Stadium, while Joel Veltman is a doubt.
Winger March sustained a hamstring issue in Monday’s 5-1 Amex Stadium thrashing by Everton and may miss the remainder of the season, while defender Webster has an unspecified problem.
De Zerbi, whose side begin the weekend on 55 points, will not “cry” about the enforced selection problems.
“We are not in such a good condition but tomorrow we organise the squad,” he said.
“We have Solly March, Webster not available to play. I hope he (March) can play the last two games (of the campaign) but it’s difficult.
“For the last five games, we will have not so many players and we have to organise step by step, game by game to be ready in every game.
“I don’t cry when there are some players not available to play. We will be 14, 15 and we will be with enough.”
Brighton are likely to be reunited with former star Leandro Trossard in north London.
De Zerbi, who criticised the Belgium international’s attitude before his January transfer, says his focus is on players still at his disposal.
“Trossard is a fantastic player,” he said. “He was a fantastic player when he played for us and he’s still a fantastic player.
“Now we have other players. I’m proud for my players, I’m proud for my squad and I don’t want to speak about other players in other teams.”
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