Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto de Zerbi is excited to test himself against Premier League giants Manchester United and ‘one of the best managers in Europe’ in Erik ten Hag.
And how Erik ten Hag could do with a comfortable, confidence-restoring 3-0 home win on Saturday afternoon.
With the Antony situation, the Jadon Sancho drama, countless injury concerns and a Harry Maguire own goal in midweek, it’s fair to say his Manchester United are not exactly in the best of shape as they look to avenge that oh-so frustrating 3-1 defeat at Arsenal before the international break.
And, make no mistake, Brighton will not be obliging opposition either. The high-flying Seagulls triumphed 2-1 in this fixture last season; De Zerbi’s high-octane, 100-mile-an-hour outfit placing them among the very last teams a United side with more problems than Jay Z on a bad day will have wanted to face right about now.
99 Problems, Jay? That probably pales in comparison to everything Ten Hag is being forced to contend with at present.
Ten Hag needs a big Man United win vs Brighton
“It will be an honour for me to coach in this stadium but I don’t want to be a tourist there,” De Zerbi says at his pre-match press conference, speaking to Yahoo Sport. “We want to play in the right way and win.
De Zerbi, labelled the ‘perfect’ replacement for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp at Anfield this week, reserved plenty of praise for a man who, lest we forget, lead an embattled Man United to a third-place finish and a first trophy in six years in 2022/23 despite facing more obstacles than Red Rum in the Grand National.
“Manchester United are still a great team,” the Italian adds. “(They have) great players and a great manager. (Ten Hag is) one of the best managers in Europe.”
In a boost to United’s injury-hit backline, former Red Devil Danny Welbeck and Evan Ferguson – a hat-trick hero against Newcastle last time out – are both injury doubts this weekend.