Brighton boss lays out priority for this season – and it’s not the Premier League
Roberto De Zerbi has stressed Brighton “want to do everything in a serious way” after they moved into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The Seagulls booked a place in the last eight with a 1-0 victory at Stoke, secured by Evan Ferguson’s finish on the half-hour mark.
They return to Premier League action with Saturday’s home clash with West Ham, ahead of which they lie eighth in the table.
Asked about the notion of the league being a priority, boss De Zerbi said: “For us, it is not a priority, the Premier League.
“The priority is to work seriously every day, in every training session, in every game. When we have the shirt of Brighton we want to do everything in a serious way.
“Our target now is West Ham, and to win the game, because we didn’t win the last two games at Crystal Palace (a 1-1 draw) and at home against Fulham (a 1-0 loss).
“We didn’t deserve the results, but we know how football can be, and we want to play a very good game and to win the game.”
The cup tie was 10 days on from the Fulham contest, Brighton’s first loss of the calendar year.
And De Zerbi – who made five changes to his starting line-up on Tuesday – felt the gap between the games had helped his team, saying: “I think yes because we worked in the right way.
“I think we had the possibility to improve, to learn something new.”
Brighton almost added another goal in a spell of pressure late on at the bet365 Stadium, which included substitute Danny Welbeck hitting the post.
Alex Neil’s Stoke, who are 17th in the Championship and had seven changes to their XI from Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Millwall, had earlier gone close to equalising through a header from Axel Tuanzebe.
The defender, signed from Manchester United in January on loan for the rest of the season, was starting a match for the first time in just over a year, and Tuanzebe said in quotes on Stoke’s official website: “I was just happy to be back. (It’s) just building from this now going forwards.
“No matter what kind of condition, you can never replicate games. I have to expose myself to as many games as possible to get back to top condition.”
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