Orlandi: Albion will play attractive football under De Zerbi

Former midfielder compare's new head coach's approach to that of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

By Luke Nicoli • 20 September 2022

By Rex / Shutterstock
Roberto De Zerbi's most recent club was Shakhtar Donetsk.

Former Albion midfielder Andrea Orlandi has compared the style of football adopted by new head coach Roberto De Zerbi to that of Pep Guardiola.

Orlandi is well placed to make the comparison, having played for Barcelona early in his career, while he saw out his playing days with two spells in Italy, just as De Zerbi was making an impact at Benevento and then Sassuolo.

“Roberto was regarded as a sort of genius when he was a player, there was a big hype around him, but for some reason never fulfilled his potential,” Andrea said of a player who started his career at AC Milan. “As a coach there’s this same ‘genius’ story about him, and from his early days at Foggia you could tell that he didn’t have that traditional Italian mentality as a manager.

“For him, it has always been about passing and getting through the lines of pressure by combinations. He’s very adaptable as well. He is very much a ‘Guardiola-esque’ type of manager, so I think he is perfect for Brighton’s style and way of playing. I think the club is in safe hands with him.”

Orlandi was playing in Serie C for Novara and later Virtus Entella while De Zerbi was making his name as a coach – and was particularly impressed by his spell with Sassuolo.

By Rex Features / Shutterstock
The Italian was appointed Albion manager on Sunday.

“When he was there, they played some of the best football in Serie A,” he added. “He then made the big move to Shakhtar Donetsk, had success, but we all know what happened in Ukraine unfortunately.

“Now he has his big chance in the Premier League and you will continue to see Brighton playing as they have done under Graham Potter. He’s all about getting the ball on the floor and playing attractive football, attacking football, which is what we want, and which is what we all like at Brighton!”

De Zerbi takes over a Brighton team sitting fourth in the Premier League table, with 13 points from the opening six games, and Orlandi has been delighted to see the progress made over recent seasons.

“I’ve been very impressed with the evolution the team’s had over the seasons. The results this season have been absolutely magnificent and the football produced has been second to none – with some standout results, including the win at Old Trafford.

“Some of the quality the team has shown has been just sensational and you could see the work Graham Potter had been doing improving players. Moises Caicedo has impressed me, Alexis Mac Allister as well, and Danny Welbeck is back to his best. I thought Brighton were missing something up front, but the way the team plays tells me that everything is absolutely spot-on.

“Now they’ve got a new coach, and, as I say, the style is not going to change. Obviously he will apply his own way of training, of coaching, but the idea is going to be the same. The team will continue to treat the ball well and will be very exciting and attacking, so I’m looking really forward to it.

“I wish Roberto De Zerbi well – as a fellow countryman! – and I’m very positive about the future. Hopefully he’s going to be very successful."