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New Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi already has a huge fan in Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is a big of of new Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi.

Chelsea’s decision to sack Thomas Tuchel caught the footballing world off-guard. After delivering a Champions League trophy in 2021, and backing their manager with £270million in the transfer window this summer, the club’s new owners ruthlessly sacked the German.

Graham Potter had impressed during his time with Brighton and he has now made the move from the south coast to London, to take over from Tuchel. The Seagulls clearly needed to get someone new in quickly, and they have finally found their man.

The club announced on Sunday that De Zerbi would be Potter’s successor. The former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk manager has earned a reputation for playing an attractive brand of football, particularly during his time in Serie A, a league often criticised for an overly defensive mindset.

Guardiola was impressed with the style of play that the former Napoli midfielder could command from his teams, as his comments from last year show.

The City manager said: “Nowadays in Serie A, you see the forwards get far more service and in more comfortable areas. Italian football will always have an element of defend and counter, because that’s an aspect that is admired abroad and part of your culture.

“But with the revolution of Arrigo Sacchi and lately coaches like Maurizio Sarri and Roberto De Zerbi, there are teams who play the ball more and therefore also concede more.”

Guardiola’s admiration for Brighton’s new manager was also shown when the pair were pictured having dinner together.

The praise does not only go one way however, as De Zerbi also complimented Guardiola after the Blues suffered Champions League heartbreak, as they lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the final.

De Zerbi said: “Tuchel is a great coach but I would rather lose the Champions League Final with Guardiola on the bench than win it with another coach. However, City won and dominated the Premier League with the best defence.”

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