De Zerbi backs Albion to bounce back on Sunday

Head coach reflects on setback at St James' Park on Thursday as Albion go down 4-1 to Newcastle United.

By Bruce Talbot • 18 May 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Roberto De Zerbi shouts instructions during the first half at St James' Park.

Roberto De Zerbi had no complaints after Albion went down 4-1 to Newcastle United on Thursday but believes he will get the right reaction against Southampton on Sunday. 

Two late goals from Callum Wilson and Bruno Guimaraes sealed victory for the hosts after Deniz Undav, who had scored an own goal in the first half, made it 2-1 early in the second period. Former Albion defender Dan Burn headed Newcastle’s other goal and they will seal Champions League football if they beat Leicester on Monday.

De Zerbi, who was nominated for Manager of the Season earlier in the day, said, “We deserved to lose, I don’t want to make any excuses. We didn’t play well in the first half when we conceded two goals from set pieces. 

“We have a lot of injuries and are not in the best possible condition to play four games in 12 days. We knew it would be a very difficult game to play so many games in a few days, but we have to forget this and prepare for a very important game on Sunday in our stadium in front of our fans where we have 12 players. I think by Sunday we will be in the best condition to play against Southampton.

By Paul Hazlewood
Facundo Buonanotte goes past former Albion defender Dan Burn.

“Newcastle are a strong team who made it difficult for us, but we had the possibility to score another goal at 2-1.”

Albion stay sixth and will have a clearer idea of what they need to secure European football by the time they kick off against Southampton on Sunday with rivals Spurs and Aston Villa, a point behind having played one more game, both in action on Saturday.

“I think we need six points [to qualify for Europe] and I think we can achieve this and reach our target,” added De Zerbi.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe admitted Albion had caused his side problem in the second half. “I thought Brighton were very good in the second half, we had to be resilient and the game was difficult at 2-1, their goal changed things. We had to keep calm because we knew there would be counter-attack opportunities. We had to get the details right to beat a very good Brighton team.”