De Zerbi has faith in Albion's youngsters

Ten Academy graduates have played in the Premier League this season for the Seagulls.

By Bruce Talbot • 28 April 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Mark O'Mahony impressed as a second-half substitute against Manchester City.

Roberto De Zerbi believes his young players can attack the final give games of the season without losing his team’s identity.

Ten Academy graduates have played in the Premier League this season, among them Odel Offiah and Mark O’Mahony in the second half of Thursday’s defeat to Manchester City. The head coach said ‘more young players will play’ against AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium today.

“We will see, [but] I want to give the young players the chance to play. We need fresh energy and maybe we can sacrifice some experience,” he said.

“We need energy because I don’t change the style of the team, and we are going to play with the same courage and mentality. We try to prepare with our best strategy, but I don’t want to lose one inch of our mentality and bravery, for sure.”

De Zerbi felt Valentin Barco was man of the match against City in his first Premier League start while Offiah and O’Mahony, who he has compared to Evan Ferguson, got minutes in the second half.


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De Zerbi's Bournemouth press conference

“I think Barco played a very good game. He made two mistakes but it's my responsibility [for that],” added De Zerbi.

“Carlos Baleba didn’t play one of the best games in his time at Brighton on Thursday but it is tough playing against Rodri, [Phil] Foden and [Mateo] Kovacic, especially in that position. They are the best possession team in the world.

“Odel Offiah in the first 10 minutes was not so good, but for 35 minutes he played very well. I think Mark O’Mahony can be the new Evan Ferguson. Mark is good in terms of possession and understands the play better.

“We have to think in the future, and I am excited to think in the future, because Baleba and Barco and the young players have a big potential and will improve for sure.”