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Roberto De Zerbi confident Brighton can secure European football for next season

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Apr 2024

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Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi believes his side are still capable of securing a place in Europe for a second successive season.

The Seagulls are 10th in the Premier League with seven games of a campaign memorable for a first foray into continental competition remaining.

Current form is not good, however, with just one win from the last six league outings, but De Zerbi is optimistic.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley, the Italian said: “It’s difficult to understand how many points we need, but we have to think game by game.

“I think we have the chance to reach Europe. It’s tough because there are a lot of strong and very good teams, but we have the chance.

“The schedule is not the best, but we’re going to find a lot of teams who play in Europe – Man City, Chelsea plays in the FA Cup, Aston Villa are playing in Conference League.

“I think we have the chance and we have to believe in that, and we have to win, for sure.

“I would like to play next season again in Europe. I think this season we are paying a lot, a big price, for the first experience in the Europa League, but the second one can be easier.”

Brighton are also hampered by a lengthy injury list. Tariq Lamptey and Julio Enciso are the latest additions after suffering knocks in last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal, taking the number of casualties to nine.

De Zerbi said: “The situation is tough. We have still nine injured players – yes, nine.

“It’s more or less the same squad we played against Arsenal but no Tariq. Julio Enciso is the ninth injured player.”

Solly March, Jack Hinshelwood, Karou Mitoma, Billy Gilmour, Evan Ferguson, Adam Webster and James Milner also remain on the sidelines.

Of those, Gilmour, Webster and Milner seem the closest to returning.

De Zerbi said: “Billy is better. I don’t know how much time he needs to start with us on the pitch, but he’s better. James Milner, the same.

“I think Webster, Milner and Bill can be available (in) the next weeks.”

De Zerbi also confirmed goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, who has started the last five matches, will retain his place.

He said: “Bart plays tomorrow, starts at the beginning in the first XI. I’m happy and lucky to work with Bart and Jason (Steele) as well.

“They are different players, different keepers, but both are very good, very important for Brighton.”

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