'Tough' month ahead? De Zerbi had tougher in Ukraine - and it taught him a lot

Roberto De Zerbi is ready for the Premier League
Roberto De Zerbi is ready for the Premier League

Roberto De Zerbi will be strengthened by challenging times in Ukraine when he tackles life as Albion head coach.

The Italian will also take on board horizon-broadening experiences meeting Pep Guardiola.

De Zerbi is preparing for the trip to Liverpool a week on Saturday which kicks off a tough October schedule.

But the word ‘tough’ in that context pales into insignificance compared to the situations faced with Shakhtar Donetsk as war hit Ukraine.

De Zerbi and his staff eventually had to leave the club, albeit with some reluctance.

He said: “They were tough days and a tough experience.

“A people that were suffering and who are still suffering.

“But they grew to be very united and very proud of being Ukrainian.

“This experience taught a lot to me and to my coaching staff.

“When you change countries, you take some of what you have.

“But when you leave, you take a lot from this place and I take a lot from Ukraine.

“It is something that will stay forever inside of you.

“The relation with the players and the club was greater because of the situation.

“Of course it was really painful to leave and to say goodbye to the players and to the club.”

De Zerbi revealed he has travelled to Munich and Manchester to meet Guardiola during his days in charge of Bayern and City.

He rates Guardiola’s Barcelona as the best team of the last 40 years.