De Zerbi still upset about Carabao Cup exit as Brighton look to avoid Middlesbrough upset

De Zerbi praises Potter Credit: Alamy
De Zerbi praises Potter Credit: Alamy

Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi hopes to avoid another cup upset at Middlesbrough after admitting Carabao Cup defeat to Charlton is “in my head”.

The Seagulls head to Michael Carrick’s in-form Boro side on Saturday for a third-round FA Cup tie fraught with danger.

Brighton have been in fine form in the Premier League, winning four of their last six games to rise to eighth place.

But last month’s defeat to League One Charlton still rankles with the Italian De Zerbi who said: “They (Middlesbrough) are in a good place in the (Championship) table.

“For sure it will be a very strong game and the Charlton experience is in my head. There is still this image and I hope we arrive with more grit to win the game.

“At Charlton we played well, but maybe there was something because we lost the game.”

Argentina midfielder Alexis Mac Allister could make his first Brighton start since becoming a World Cup winner last month.

Mac Allister was a second-half substitute on Tuesday as the Seagulls thrashed Everton 4-1 at Goodison Park.

“I would like to speak with him,” De Zerbi said ahead of his maiden FA Cup tie.

“I don’t want to take risks with Alexis, but for sure he will play one part of the game. We will see.

“I’m getting used to playing in the Carabao, FA Cup, Premier League.

“It’s a bit different to Italy as it’s only the Coppa Italia there. But it’s not a problem and the FA Cup is an important competition for us.

“There is a possibility to play with younger players if we need to achieve the result, but it’s not a gift.

“Football at our level, there are no gifts. We have to respect football.”

Brighton have Danny Welbeck and Deniz Undav available again after injury, but Adam Webster remains out and concerns remain over the fitness of Belgium forward Leandro Trossard.

Top scorer Trossard was dropped to the bench at Everton after struggling to produce his pre-World Cup form.

De Zerbi said: “He is a good player, but I want 100 per cent of his possibility.

“After the World Cup he is suffering something and I didn’t see the maximum 100 per cent.

“I am a coach, I have to play with the best first XI that is possible, and for the moment I didn’t see the best condition from him to play.”

On Friday evening Brighton announced striker Aaron Connolly had joined Hull until the end of the season after returning early from a loan spell with Serie B club Venezia, where the Seagulls said the Irishman had “found his opportunities limited”.

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