The best bits from De Zerbi's United press conference

Albion face United this Sunday in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

By Bruce Talbot • 22 April 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Roberto De Zerbi's team will play for a place in the Emirates FA Cup final on Sunday.

On the importance of the build-up to the semi-final and playing the game and not the occasion…

We are excited to play at Wembley. We are focused only on the game. We want to play respecting our quality, our DNA, our style. These are good things to feel because football is first of all an emotion, but we have to be clear and relaxed to think and find the right way to win the game.  I would like us to start with a relaxed mentality because to show our qualities we have to enjoy the game.

Maybe it’s better to love this pressure? It has to be an honour not a problem to play and I have no doubt that we can show our quality and play a great game in terms of our mentality. I don’t want to speak about pressure because it’s not pressure. There will be a lot of our fans there in a great stadium with a great atmosphere. We are able to win, maybe we can lose, but for sure we can compete with them in one game.


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Roberto De Zerbi's Manchester United press conference

On the sort of test he expects from Manchester United…

I think they are improving in every situation and in every part of the pitch. They have very important players and they have a very clear idea. I like them in terms of quality of play and tactical approach. For us it’s good to compete with them. The best solution is to be focused on ourselves and what we can do to win the game, while respecting that Manchester United is one of the best teams in the UK. We deserve to play this type of game in the semi-final.

On his memories of the FA Cup when he was a youngster in Italy…

For Italian people it’s difficult to understand the importance of the FA Cup. The Copa Italia is not the same. In Italy only Serie A, the league, that is important. But if you work in the UK, you understand the importance and how the people feel about this competition.

On the form of Moises Caicedo since he signed his new contract…

When the transfer market closed he has still been one of the best players for us. His performances have been great.

On Sunday being the start of an important run-in…

"The last 40 days will be a very tough period. We will play seven games in May, with Newcastle, Arsenal, Man United, Man City, Aston Villa, Everton. Before the game with Tottenham I told you we have to win one, two, three big games. If we want to achieve the Europa League we have to win I don't know how many games, but many games for sure, and all of the games will all be very tough.

When you arrived at the club, did you think that a FA Cup semis was possible?

To achieve the semis, you have to win a lot of game before. I have to answer no, but step by step I felt the team was improving and I started to believe we can compete for FA Cup and the Europa League.

I trust my players. I don’t want you to think I am being arrogant because I am not arrogant. I think we can win the game because I believe in my players. I know very well the quality of the Manchester United players and I respect them. I think it’ll be a tough game, but a tough game for them as well.

How important was it for Rob Sanchez to get a game against Chelsea and play so well…

Robert showed he is improving. At Stamford Bridge he played very well and was better in the build-up. I don't want to take risks, but I always want to play with the ball in every situation in every stadium against every opponent. I think he understood my idea and my vision and what I want on the pitch."