Brighton’s European Ambitions Shine Bright
De Zerbi’s Debut Dance on Europe’s Stage
In the pulsating heart of football, where legacy meets ambition, Brighton and Hove Albion find themselves treading a historic path. As they prepare to welcome AEK Athens in the Europa League group stages, there’s an electric charge in the air. This is, after all, their first foray into European competition.
Roberto de Zerbi, the charismatic Brighton manager, is fully aware of the magnitude of this moment. “Although strides have been made, we’re not at the summit just yet. Yet, the essence of our quality – in our players, our style of play, and our club’s stature – is unmistakable. However, our roots lie in the name ‘Brighton’, and we’re acutely aware of our journey,” the spirited Italian remarked.
Chasing European Dreams Without Losing Identity
While Brighton’s remarkable sixth-place Premier League finish last season has captured imaginations and even placed them as second favourites, behind only Liverpool, to lift the Europa League trophy, De Zerbi offers a sage perspective.
“We harbour grand ambitions. With each match, with each competition, there’s a fervent desire to elevate our game,” he notes, fervently. “But when I evoke the name ‘Brighton’, it’s a reminder of our humble beginnings. The core of our identity, our DNA, is sacrosanct. If we lose sight of that, we err gravely.”
Players in Spotlight for European Debut
Among those donning the Brighton jersey, Ansu Fati, the dazzling Spanish forward, might grace the pitch as a starter following his transfer from Barcelona. Pervis Estupinan and Facundo Buonanotte, absent from the victorious clash against Manchester United, are tipped to feature, while Solly March is raring to go post his muscle strain recovery.
One can’t overlook Pascal Gross, the seasoned midfielder poised for his European debut at 32. Since his 2017 arrival at Brighton, Gross has been instrumental, recently netting a goal in the triumphant match at Old Trafford. “Witnessing European football throughout my life, stepping into it feels surreal,” the German mused. “We’ve evolved remarkably, more so in the past year. While we revel in our current standing, there’s an insatiable appetite for growth.”
With their eyes set on European success, Brighton seeks to strike a balance between ambition and staying true to their origins.