Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi admits his side are struggling mentally with the challenges of his side’s Premier League schedule, just over a week before their trip to Newcastle United.
Brighton travel to St James’ Park a week on Thursday with Eddie Howe’s side knowing they need as many points as possible from their remaining games. They’re looking to secure their top-four finish in the Premier League, but have Liverpool refusing to wilt in their battle for Champions League qualification.
It could still be possible for Brighton to secure European football themselves with a seventh-place finish, though De Zerbi’s men are aiming for a higher position. But after his side’s 5-1 defeat to Everton at the Amex, the Italian head coach suggested his side’s performance revealed they were not yet ready to go toe-to-toe with the best in the business.
He said: “Of course we can lose the game. We can lose against Everton, but I’m disappointed for the first half because it was tough. We showed we are not ready yet to compete and to achieve the big target. But I am speaking about mentality, not other things, not other parts of football.
“It’s not easy because playing in the last period, three games in a week is difficult if you are not used to playing so many games. But if we want to improve, if we want to fix our target higher, we have to improve very fast.”
Brighton’s schedule doesn’t ease too much ahead of their visit to Newcastle either. Before that trip next Thursday, they must first travel to Arsenal on Sunday, with Mikel Arteta’s side still in the battle for the Premier League title with Manchester City.
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