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Premier League

He changed football



He changed football

Pep Guardiola is considered by many to be the undisputed master of his craft, but the star coach has a new role model himself. Roberto De Zerbi, coach of Brighton & Hove Albion, is “one of the most influential team managers of the past 20 years,” said Guardiola before the league game with English champions Manchester City in sixth place (9 p.m.).

De Zerbi changed football like the famous Spanish chef Ferran Adria changed the kitchen, Guardiola said. “If you’re not playing at a high level, he’ll do whatever he wants with you. They’re one of the teams I try to learn a lot from.”

43-year-old Italian De Zerbi has led Brighton into European business for the first time. “No one else plays like her, it’s unique,” said Guardiola. He expected De Zerbi to have a big impact on the Premier League, “but not in such a short time,” the Catalan admitted.

“He creates 20 or 25 chances per game, clearly more than most opponents. He has a monopoly on the ball in a way that hasn’t been seen in a long time.”

Last September, De Zerbi succeeded Graham Potter, who switched to Chelsea FC and has long since been released by the Blues. He previously worked for top Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, in Sassuolo, Benevento, Palermo and Foggia. Apart from the Ukrainian Supercup and the Coppa Italia Serie C, he has not yet won a title with Foggia.