In a season which has seen a managerial change at Brighton and Hove Albion, it’s a remarkable feat that the club find themselves battling for the European qualifying places.
Manager Roberto De Zerbi has worked wonders to steady the ship following the departure of Graham Potter to Chelsea and now the Seagulls are building towards the climax of the Premier League season.
Shrewd De Zerbi Builds On Potter’s Foundations
Many managers come into a new club after the sacking of their predecessor and will be looking to quickly impose their own philosophy on the squad in order to turn the team’s fortunes around. It was very different circumstances when De Zerbi walked through the doors at the Amex Stadium, with Brighton competing in the top half of the table. Potter had been building something special at Brighton, who are 6/4 with Paddy Power to finish in the Premier League’s top six this season. Being in the conversation for qualifying for Europe showed how far the Seagulls had risen and there were concerns after Potter’s departure for Stamford Bridge that the club could take a backward step.
Instead of enforcing a new system on the squad at the Amex, De Zerbi has been able to build on the good work already done by Potter. That took intelligence and humility on De Zerbi’s part and is why the club’s supporters have taken to the Italian, as he learns the ropes in his first job in English football. Learning the managerial trade in Italy before embarking to Ukraine to take on the job at Shakhtar Donetsk, the former attacking midfielder has transitioned well to the rigours of the Premier League.
Work To Be Done But Brighton In The Mix
While there is still plenty of football to be played, Brighton has put themselves in the mix to qualify for either the Europa League or Conference League this season. In a campaign that has seen the giants of Liverpool and Chelsea underperform in the first half of the season, the likes of Newcastle, Fulham and Brighton have looked to take advantage. Liverpool, whose struggles have been highlighted by the BBC, and Chelsea have the quality in their squads to finish the season strongly and it will be up to the likes of the Seagulls, Magpies and Cottagers to try and stay in the conversation for European qualification.
The loss of Leandro Trossard to Arsenal over the January transfer window, as reported by ESPN, was a blow but Brighton has a model for developing players and moving them on for profit. It won’t have come as much of a shock to lose Trossard and Brighton now look to have more depth to cope with the loss of an important attacking threat. Once again it will have come to De Zerbi to plan the team’s strategy going forward without Trossard and Brighton will still be quietly confident they can continue to pick up valuable points between now and the end of the season.
Brighton has come a long way over recent years and, with De Zerbi at the helm, the club are pushing to open up a potentially new European chapter in the club’s history.