De Zerbi admits he 'should have given Gilmour more minutes'

MATT BARLOW: Wembley heartache inspired Brighton’s biggest ever top-flight win… as Roberto De Zerbi admits he ‘should have given Billy Gilmour more minutes’ after impressive display against Wolves

  •  Brighton lost to Manchester United on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final
  • The Seagulls responded and beat Wolves 6-0 in their biggest ever top-flight win
  •  Head coach De Zerbi admitted that he should have given Gilmour more minutes

Wembley heartache inspired Brighton’s biggest ever top-flight win and will remain a motivational force as they target a first European adventure.

Roberto de Zerbi’s team have seven to play and are plotting a sprint finish but their fixtures are daunting, with each of the top four to play, starting on Thursday with Manchester United and the chance for revenge against the team that beat them on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final.

‘Unfortunately, we cannot go back to play again the semi final,’ said De Zerbi. ‘But we can achieve the Europa League, our target. 

‘We have to win as many games as we can and the first is with Man United, and with our quality we will try to win. Playing like this, working to improve our mentality, and playing every game like it’s the last game in our life. Because for us, the club, our fans it can be a historical result.’

Brighton are in the business of rewriting their own record books. Saturday’s 6-0 romp against sorry Wolves was their biggest win in what is now 10 seasons in the top division, and took them level with their greatest top-flight points tally, 52.

Brighton beat Wolves 6-0 on Saturday in their biggest ever top-flight win

Roberto De Zerbi is targetting European football with the Seagulls in his first year at the AmEx

Billy Glimour joined Brighton from Chelsea last summer and impressed against Wolves

‘It was my best game as a coach but perfection is far away,’ said De Zerbi, as the compliments came his way about his impact since replacing Graham Potter at Brighton. 

‘We are playing well but as long as Pep Guardiola works in football it is difficult to play better than his team. With Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa there can never be competition because they are the biggest coaches in the world. 

‘I have good confidence in myself, I think I’m a good coach but to play this level of football without great players, I can’t. The credit is not for me it’s for my players.’

And not simply the usual suspects because De Zerbi orchestrated this thrashing by giving a breather to three of his star players, Alexis Mac Allister, Kaoru Mitoma and Moses Caicedo. They were 5-0 up by the time any of the trio came on. 

Danny Welbeck and Pascal Gross and scored two each, and Deniz Undav made it six, with his second of the game, a delicious chip from an acute angle to beat Jose Sa, as Wolves suffered one meltdown after another at the back.

‘Undav is one of my biggest problems,’ continuedDe Zerbi. ‘He has big potential, big quality but it seems like he doesn’t believe in himself. 

‘I would like to help him and he has to understand faster because the time in football flies. He knows very well my opinion.’

There was praise, too, for Billy Gilmour, starting for only the third time in the Premier League since his £9million move from Chelsea. ‘He was the best player on the pitch,’ said De Zerbi. ‘I made some mistakes with him. I should have given him more minutes, more chances to play during games.’

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