‘Special’ Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi is a joy to play for – Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck is loving life under “special man” Roberto De Zerbi and hopes Brighton can keep hold of their highly-rated coach.
De Zerbi has the high-flying Seagulls challenging for European football amid widespread plaudits for his attractive, possession-based style of play.
Eighth-placed Albion underlined their credentials for continental qualification by thrashing Wolves 6-0 on Saturday to register a club-record Premier League win.
Welbeck, who scored twice against Wanderers, believes De Zerbi is doing an “unbelievable job” and is not surprised the Italian continues to be linked with a host of top clubs.
“We’re obviously very happy to have him here,” the forward, who played for Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger earlier in his career, said of his current manager.
“Playing for him and his team and his style, it’s unbelievable.
“I think every single job that comes up, with him doing so well, he’s going to be getting linked to that. But hopefully he’s still here.
“I don’t like to rank managers because I’ve got a lot of respect for each and every one, you learn so much from every single manager you have, but he’s definitely a special manager and the style of play is so enjoyable to play underneath.
“You learn so much every single day. He’s a special man.”
Former England international Welbeck struck either side of half-time against Wolves as Brighton ended a challenging week in emphatic fashion.
Deniz Undav and Pascal Gross also claimed doubles to help the Seagulls bounce back from last weekend’s painful FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester United and a 3-1 midweek defeat at lowly Nottingham Forest.
Albion have already equalled the club-record top-flight points tally of 52 set in 1982, but Welbeck knows De Zerbi will not allow standards to drop going into the final seven matches of the campaign.
“Every single day at the training ground he’s always the same,” said the 32-year-old.
“He’s very direct and he knows how he wants his team to play and, credit to the boys, everybody has bought into his style.
“He keeps everybody motivated, everybody on their toes wanting to be better, wanting to improve, the young players are getting opportunities. He’s doing an unbelievable job.
“I’m loving it. It’s very enjoyable. It’s a great football club to be at.”
Welbeck departed the Wembley pitch before last weekend’s agonising 7-6 shoot-out loss to his former club United due to an injury.
He concedes bouncing back from that deflating defeat was tough.
“It wasn’t easy, but there’s not time really to feel sorry for yourself because that’s not going to get you anywhere,” he said.
“I think the result in midweek against Forest was a little bit of a hangover from the cup semi-final, so we had to pick ourselves up and go again.
“We did (against Wolves) and it sets us in good stead for the rest of the season.”
A top-seven finish and entry into the Europa Conference League is Brighton’s minimum objective.
Welbeck, who has plenty of Champions League and Europa League experience from his time at Old Trafford and Emirates Stadium, is not allowing himself to think too far ahead.
“It’s important to set high aims and, for us to get there, we’ve got to do our job on the pitch and we’re really looking forward to it, it’s exciting times,” he said.
“I don’t really want to talk too much about that until if it actually comes. It would be amazing though.”