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Roberto De Zerbi rues ‘strange game’ in Brighton’s shock defeat to Everton

Roberto De Zerbi rues ‘strange game’ in Brighton’s shocking defeat to Everton

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi has assessed his side’s capitulating defeat to relegation-battling Everton this evening.

The Seagulls saw their European ambitions take a hit after suffering a shocking 5-1 defeat to Sean Dyche’s struggling Toffees at the Amex Stadium.

The Merseyside outfit stunned Brighton as they went 3-0 up in the opening 45 minutes courtesy of an Abdoulaye Doucoure brace and a Jason Steele own goal.

De Zerbi was forced to make a plethora of changes at the start of the second half with four players entering the fray, but Everton only extended their lead through Dwight McNeil in the 76th minute.

Highly sought-after Alexis Mac Allister pulled one back for the Seagulls, but it proved nothing but a consolation goal as McNeil doubled his tally late in stoppage time to complete the rout.

The result came against the odds, and even De Zerbi was left stunned, with the Italian tactician labelling the contest a ‘strange game’ in his post-match interview.

“It’s very difficult to explain this performance,” De Zerbi told AlbionTV. “It was a strange game. We conceded the first goal after 32 seconds – it was a bad day, and we have to restart on Sunday against Arsenal.

“I think the problem was not about tactical disposition. I think we didn’t prepare in terms of motivation or mentality. Playing a lot of games in a small period is difficult, and we are not used to it.”

De Zerbi then urged his players to use the humiliation in front of the Amex faithful as motivation to realise their lofty ambitions.

“I’m still proud of my players – the first one responsible is the coach,” De Zerbi added. “We have to remember this game well because it can be a very important day for us.

“I think before this game, we were playing fantastic football with fantastic results, and we have to be proud of our work.”

Brighton are fighting for a place in one of Europe’s competitions, and they are still in with a shout for a spot in the Europa League as they sit seventh in the Premier League.

The Seagulls are seven points adrift of Liverpool, having played two games less, but they’re in for another fight when they travel to face title-chasing Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium next weekend.

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