Pep Guardiola has hailed Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi as ‘one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years.’
Manchester City travel to face Brighton in the Premier League on Wednesday evening with both sides celebrating successful seasons.
City were crowned as Premier League champions for a fifth time in six campaigns last weekend, while Brighton’s win over Southampton confirmed that the Seagulls will play European football for the first time in their history next season.
Guardiola congratulated Brighton on their ‘incredible achievement’ and believes De Zerbi’s unique brand of football has made the Italian one of football’s most influential modern coaches.
“I congratulate Brighton on their incredible achievement to get into the Europa League,” Guardiola told his pre-match press conference.
“Pay attention to what I’m going to say because I’m pretty convinced I’m right – Roberto De Zerbi is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years.
“There is no team playing in the way they play – it is unique. I had the feeling when he arrived in the Premier League that the impact would be great but I couldn’t expect he would do this in this short a time.
“He creates 20-25 chances on average a game. He’s better by far than all the opponents, he monopolises the ball in a way I haven’t seen for a long. long time.”
Guardiola discussed Brighton’s football under De Zerbi and admitted he tries to learn lessons from the Seagulls and their ability to build from the back.
“Everybody is involved – the goalkeeper is like a holding midfielder. And if you don’t play a high level he [De Zerbi] can do whatever he wants against you and all opponents.
“They deserve completely all the compliments and the success that they have.
“It is one of the teams I try to learn a lot [from]. It is unique like a Michelin star restaurant – in Catalonia, the best cook for many, many years, he changed completely the cuisine and I think Brighton is playing something unique, special.
“And it is a good, incredible challenge for us to help prepare for the two finals, absolutely.”
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