De Zerbi: I have not decided to leave

Roberto De Zerbi has given the clearest statement yet on his future, and it could be great news for Albion fans who wish to see the Italian in the Amex dugout next season.

Ahead of the trip to Burnley, the Albion manager spoke about the frustrations he has felt during a season blighted by injuries to key players. Attacking threats Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma and Julio Enciso have all had prolonged absences, whilst top scorer Joao Pedro has also been forced to miss crunch fixtures.

De Zerbi’s work steering the Seagulls to a first-ever European qualification has not gone unnoticed, and with this summer set to see an almost unprecedented game of managerial musical chairs at top European clubs, he has been linked to many jobs.

As reported yesterday, De Zerbi strongly hinted to Italian media that he intends to serve at least one more season in Sussex, and that was reinforced in the press conference before he started the journey to East Lancashire.

The Brighton head coach clarified that he was frustrated to be missing his own squad players, not that he wanted particular reinforcements and also sought to quash rumour that he was at loggerheads with the the Albion boardroom.

“I know you are not used to hearing the truth, or people who say the truth, in a strong way but in a polite way, honestly, this season has been tough because, in the Europa League, I wanted to play in a different way with my teams. Not with other players in the transfer market. And the frustration is big for me.”

“I am focused to feel again, to make our fans happy for another season. To reach Europe and to have the chance to play in the Europa League or Conference League for another season, because I know the experience is crucial in football. I am pushing for that. I don’t know if we reach it or not.

“I have not decided to leave, it is not the right time yet to decide anything. I am frustrated, and I am disappointed for this season. But I never fight with Tony, I never fight with Paul Barber (chief executive), with my players.”

Images courtesy of Reuters