De Zerbi claims he DOES trust refs – two weeks after disliking '80%'

Now Roberto De Zerbi claims he DOES trust referees! Brighton boss changes his tune just two weeks after his scathing attack that he dislikes ’80 PER CENT’ of Premier League officials

  • Roberto De Zerbi has changed his tune ahead of Brighton’s next match in Athens
  • Mail Sport has launched a campaign to help stamp out abuse of match officials
  • Have you witnessed abuse of referees? Contact [email protected] 

Perhaps simmering tensions between the British and Greek governments over the Elgin Marbles helped Roberto De Zerbi find his diplomatic side.

The Brighton boss arrived in Athens for a vital Europa League game against AEK insisting he trusted Premier League referees, little more than a fortnight after saying he does not like 80 per cent of them.

‘I believe in the people,’ said De Zerbi. 

‘I believe in the referees. I believe in the behaviour of the people because otherwise I can go to Italy tomorrow. I start with confidence in the referees.

‘They can make mistakes. We can make mistakes – Lewis Dunk and me as a coach because I have received a lot of yellow and red cards – but about the confidence, 100 per cent.’

Roberto De Zerbi (left) now appears to have changed his mind when it comes to referees

De Zerbi controversially said recently that he dislikes ’80 per cent of England’s referees’

Mail Sport has launched a campaign to stop the abuse of referees to help boost the game

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The Italian has a reputation as a fiery presence on the touchline. His captain Dunk abused referee Anthony Taylor at Nottingham Forest on Saturday and earned a red card.

‘Lewis is 32,’ said De Zerbi. ‘He doesn’t need to learn or to improve in attitude, or to control himself. He made a mistake and he knows it.’

Victory for Brighton on Thursday night will secure progress to the Europa League knockout stages, but they expect a hostile reception against a side who won at the Amex in September.

‘We are used to playing in very hot stadiums in England,’ said De Zerbi.

Dunk is available in Athens but will miss Premier League games against Chelsea and Brentford. James Milner, Kaoru Mitoma and Julio Igor are all back. 

Ansu Fati is out for up to three months after injuring a hamstring at Forest, while Tariq Lamptey suffered a muscle injury in the same game but should be back sooner.

De Zerbi is trying to steer Brighton into the knockout stages of the Europa League in Athens

Kick-off: 5.45pm, LIVE on TNT Sports 2.


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