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Brighton v Manchester City: De Zerbi dismisses talk of fatigue in visitors’ ranks

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Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has dismissed any notion of Manchester City being tired when they visit the Amex tomorrow night.

City boss Pep Guardiola complained about the fixture schedule at the weekend following his side’s FA Cup semi-final victory against Chelsea which came just three days after a gruelling penalty shoot-out defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

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Guardiola feels his players have suffered from fatigue in recent weeks but De Zerbi believes they will have had time to recover when they make the trip to the south coast.

The Italian said: “They are tired? I think not. They played Saturday against Chelsea, tomorrow is Thursday and they are used to playing so many games.

“They were unlucky against Real Madrid because they lost on penalties but, with Arsenal and Liverpool, one of the best teams in the Premier League. For us it’s a very tough game.”

City will be without leading scorer Erling Haaland through injury with De Zerbi unable to contain his delight at not having to face the Norway striker.

“Great news because Haaland is a top player,” he added. “Unfortunately, they will play with [Julian] Alvarez and he is still a big player for them.

“Then Bernardo [Silva], [Jeremy] Doku, [Jack] Grealish on the wing. The level of difficulty for this game is tough but we’d like to play well and get points, for sure.”

Brighton have also suffered with injuries in recent weeks and they are again without several key players.

“The situation is more or less the same as the last game,” said De Zerbi. “Adam Webster can be available to play, Julio [Enciso] we will see. [Billy] Gilmour is not available, Tariq [Lamptey] no, James Milner no, [Evan] Ferguson no.

“Pervis [Estupinan] is finished for the season.”

Having a depleted squad has contributed to a poor run of results for Brighton, who have won just two of their last 10 games in all competitions.

De Zerbi said: “This season has been very tough, especially after January. We’re suffering too many injuries to key players.

“It’s not finished yet. I’m sorry because I’m disappointed and wanted to compete in a different way the last three months.

“Next season we will be better because we have experienced – we are experiencing, it’s not finished yet – a tough period.

“We try to win games but first we have to start with performances and play better, for sure.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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