Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton: 1 am texts, player challenges, and targeting Europe
Solly March revealed Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi sends his players text messages at 1 am with video clips showing how they can improve.
De Zerbi is delivering a masterclass in man-management at the Amex, with March – who went almost two years without scoring – banging in four goals in his last five games. And the fiery Italian even chose 26,000ft altitude – cloud nine on the plane
home from an away win – to set his born-again forward a 10-goal target for this season.
March said: “He’s animated and I think his whole life is football. He sends some of the lads’ texts at 1 am in the morning with clips showing them what they can do better – that’s the hard work he puts in and everyone enjoys playing for him.
“I haven’t had one of those messages yet and I don’t want to get woken up – my wife wouldn’t be happy!
“But he said something on the plane home from Everton, asking me How many goals can you get?’ I said eight, so he upped it to 10. There’s no wager riding on it, he just set me the challenge, so we’ll see what happens.
“But i would say I’m not playing the best football of my career and maybe our current success is a little bit more special for me and Dunky (Lewis Dunk) because we’re local lads who have been here a long time.
“I don’t see why European football shouldn’t be a realistic target. You need to be positive and have high expectations. If we keep playing as we did against Liverpool, we’ll get close.
“A lot of teams will come here and press – and if they press like that, we’ll play around them.”
In stark contrast, Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson admitted they were running low on energy and confidence.
The captain who has lifted the European Cup, Premier League title, and domestic cups conceded the team who played every possible game in every competition last season is struggling to rekindle the winning habit. Asked what went wrong at the Amex, Henderson replied: “Everything – it hasn’t been right for a little while now. Everybody knows that.
“I’ll take responsibility and the lads will, too. We have to try to put it right. We’re pretty low on confidence. The energy level is low. We have to keep fighting and hopefully, we can change it sooner rather than later.