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De Zerbi admits Brighton ‘not a top team’ ahead of Newcastle trip

Roberto De Zerbi

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi says he is not in charge of a ‘top team’ ahead of their Premier League trip to Newcastle.

The Seagulls are coming off the back of a big win over Aston Villa and are targeting a top-half finish for the second consecutive season.

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But De Zerbi – who guided the South Coast side into the Europa League last season – admits he loves playing the underdog role against England’s top clubs.

He said: “I would like to stay in Brighton because I love my players.

“I love this city. I love my club and my fans. I think they know what we need. They know what we need to improve this season.

“We can’t forget we are Brighton. We are not a top team.

“We have to accept our policy at the club because we love working in Brighton but, if we can compete for a higher level, we have to compete without a problem.

“I don’t like it when people are beaten before they start. We have to keep our motivation, our ambition high, and then we will see what we are able to do.

Brighton’s hectic schedule has halted their upward trajectory in the league this season but they have scored notable victories over Villa, Tottenham, Manchester United and Newcastle.

They cannot qualify for Europe next season but De Zerbi will view it as an opportunity to have a real go in the league once again next term.

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Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.

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