Guardiola reveals he didn't expect De Zerbi to impress so quickly

‘He’s so special and unique’: Pep Guardiola praises Roberto De Zerbi and insists he was ‘sure’ the Italian would impress at Brighton – but didn’t expect him to make such a big impact so quickly

  • Pep Guardiola didn’t expect Roberto De Zerbi to impress quite so quickly 
  • Guardiola praised the Brighton manager, describing him as being ‘unique’ 
  • De Zerbi guided Brighton to European football and the semi-finals of the FA Cup

Pep Guardiola has praised Roberto De Zerbi again, saying he was sure the Italian would impress at Brighton but stressed that he didn’t expect him to make an impact quite so quickly. 

De Zerbi has been hugely impressive since replacing Graham Potter in September and has guided Brighton to European football for the first time in their history, with the club likely to be competing in the Europa League.

In addition, De Zerbi took Brighton to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they were beaten by Manchester United. 

Prior to City’s game away to Brighton Guardiola spoke highly of De Zerbi, saying:  ‘Congratulations for this incredible achievement in the Europa League.

‘I think Roberto is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years.

Pep Guardiola praised Roberto De Zerbi but is surprised at how quickly he has made an impact

Guardiola was full of praise for De Zerbi, describing his style of play as being unique

‘There is no team playing the way they play – unique. I had the feeling he would have an impact and it would be great – but I didn’t expect them to do it in this short space of time.’

Asked to expand on his comments, Guardiola described De Zerbi’s style of play as ‘unique’. 

Speaking on Sky Sports, Guardiola said: ’20 years is many years but the way I’ve seen I’ve never seen in 20 years. He’s so special and unique. Using the keeper as a main process to move the opponents I’ve never seen for a long time. 

‘Young players with Ferguson, Enciso, Buonanotte , many experienced ones. How they commit, that helps create the space for the players to get the ball. It’s so nice to watch.’

‘I was sure there would be an impact in Brighton, I know him a little bit. Stick with the ideas but I didn’t expect him to do it so quickly.’

Brighton have secured league wins against Manchester United and Arsenal this month, with De Zerbi’s side playing their usual brand of football with confidence.

As Guardiola alludes to, there is a useful blend of youth and experience in the Brighton squad.

The Seagulls often lose their top stars, but they have an excellent structure in place to keep recruiting and developing players. 

Brighton have played some excellent football this season under the guidance of De Zerbi

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