'Our target means you have to win incredible games'

The best quotes from Roberto's Newcastle press conference.

By Bruce Talbot • 18 May 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Roberto De Zerbi.

Roberto De Zerbi looks ahead to Thursday's game against Newcastle United and the push for European football.

On Thursday’s opponents…

“[Newcastle head coach] Eddie Howe is doing an incredible job and they deserve to play in the Champions League. They are a very strong team. I think it’s a very tough game but not just for Brighton but for every team. But we are fighting for our history and target and if we want to reach it we have to make historic results. To reach an incredible target, you have to win incredible games.

“For me it’s an honour to play in their stadium. I’m looking forward to playing because the passion of their fans is some of the best of football, but for sure we play to win.

“Can we repeat Arsenal? Yes, it’s our target, to play another big game in the same way we played at Arsenal. The big teams play in the same way after three, four, seven days. We have to be ready to forget the last game and start with a clear head.”

On needing two wins from four to secure European football…

“It’s important because we can decide our own destiny and future. It’s not so easy because we have to win two games and we will play against three big teams, Newcastle, Manchester City and Aston Villa, and we will play against Southampton, which I think will be the most difficult game.”


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De Zerbi's Newcastle press conference

On having the right mentality…

“In this part of the season the most important part of my players will be the the mentality, to be able to accept the pressure of playing high-intensity games. We are playing every few days and we have to be ready. The best part of the Arsenal result was the reaction they gave to the Everton game. Sometimes in football you can have a terrible day, but you have to be ready to react and to show your mentality and we need to do that again against Newcastle.”

On having the confidence to make bold decisions…

“I was asked why I took off a midfielder [Billy Gilmour] and brought on Danny Welbeck. I thought at that moment it was important for us to play with Alexis [Mac Allister] in the midfield position. We needed one more to defend, and to play with two strikers to keep the ball. Alexis, when the game is becoming tougher, is top.”

On tweaking tactics from game to game…

“We are working to improve and change something every game, and not just depending on results. We try to go forward and you can always improve your knowledge. We are studying different tactical dispositions and different principles. We can’t change our DNA, but we can change and improve our style.

“We are changing depending on our first XI. If we play with, for example, Deniz Undav and Danny Welbeck as No.9 and No.10, it’s totally different from if we play with Alexis Mac Allister and Welbeck because they have different characteristics, the same if we play with [Moises] Caicedo or [Joel] Veltman in the right back position. We change game by game.”