Men's Team

Guardiola hails impact of 'influential' De Zerbi

Pep Guardiola has praised Brighton manager Robert De Zerbi ahead of City’s trip to the Amex Stadium, describing the Italian as one of the most influential coaches of the past two decades.

De Zerbi has led the Seagulls to European qualification for the first time in the Club’s history after a fantastic season that also saw them reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Brighton have already secured a place in the Europa Conference and another point from either the clash with City at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday at 20:00 (UK) or their final game would see them guarantee a Europa League spot.

Guardiola says he was not surprised by De Zerbi’s impact at Brighton, although he didn’t expect him to be able to achieve it so quickly.

“Congratulations to Brighton for this incredible achievement of getting into Europe,” the boss said ahead of the game against the Seagulls.

“Roberto De Zerbi is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years. There is no team that plays the way they play, it’s unique.

“I had the feeling that when he arrived I had an idea the impact he would have on the Premier League would be great but I couldn’t expect him to do it in such a short time.

“They create on average 20-25 chances per game. They monopolise the ball in a way that hasn't been seen for a long time. Everybody is involved - the goalkeeper is like a holding midfielder.”

City go into the game on the back of a 12-game winning streak that saw us lift the Premier League trophy for the third season in a row following the victory over Chelsea on Sunday.

Guardiola is expecting a tough test against Brighton and believes it can help us prepare for the finals against Manchester United and Inter next month.

 If you don’t play at a high level, he can do whatever he wants against you,” he added.

“They completely deserve the compliments and the success that they have. It’s one of the teams that I try to learn a lot from, it’s unique.

“It’s going to be an incredible challenge for us ahead of the two finals.”

Explaining what makes Brighton so special, Guardiola says they have the ability to make the right pass at the right time.

He also said that De Zerbi had built on the good work of his predecessor Graham Potter who began the season in charge on the South Coast.

“Brighton is a master of passing the ball to a man who is free, but also knowing when to pass the ball,” Guardiola said.

“They know how to move at the right time. They have the right tempo to pass to the man free.

“How aggressive they are with the ball they continued from Graham Potter because I think he installed something really good.”