Brighton & Hove Albion news: When did former Brighton attacker Andrea Orlandi first notice Roberto De Zerbi’s coaching abilities?

Brighton defied the odds last season to finish in an unexpected sixth position in the Premier League and secured Europa League football.

Roberto De Zerbi in a file photo; Credit: Twitter@OfficialBHAFC
By Karthik Raman | Nov 16, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

It is a great time to be a Brighton & Hove Albion supporter. The club has been doing excellently on and off the pitch. There are a lot of good things to take out of the team’s performances over the past year. Brighton defied the odds last season to finish in an unexpected sixth position in the Premier League and secured Europa League football. They achieved it by playing brilliant attacking football, which was pleasing on the eye.

A lot of credit for that must go to their manager Roberto De Zerbi, who revolutionised the team after joining the club at the beginning of last campaign. He has been rightly praised by pundits and supporters across the world. The latest to join that list is former Brighton attacker Andrea Orlandi. In fact, Orlandi has known De Zerbi for a while now. Playing in Italy’s Serie B with Novara, he first came to notice the coach’s methods.

Andrea Orlandi on Roberto De Zerbi

“Me and the analyst used to watch Roberto De Zerbi’s training sessions when he was the coach at Foggia in the Italian third tier, and the analyst would say ‘this guy is amazing’. When you saw the clips of his Foggia team play, you knew the coach was going to be amazing. Then he went to Benevento and Sassuolo. In Serie A he was able to play a style of football that they would usually say no to – “this isn’t how you should play” – attacking and looking after the ball,” Orlandi, quoted by the club’s website, said.

He added: “In Italy, 80 per cent of the teams play the same style; the same pattern of play ‘give the ball to the wing-back and he will run…’ every team does the same. By being provocative at times is how he became successful at Sassuolo. Then the way he spoke as well in his press conferences, he was so sure of himself. He’s a fantastic motivator and coach, he’s the next big thing in football. It’s great to have him at the club and hopefully Albion will be able to keep him for a long while. He’s impressed me, but he has probably gone beyond my early expectations.”

Orlandi explained how he believed De Zerbi managed to challenge the established order in the Premier League. “It was because he couldn’t challenge bigger teams with bigger budgets, so he was doing something similar to what we did here, something different. It was what we did at Swansea City where we went from League One to the Premier League with a lower budget than a lot of teams. We played differently and that’s how we were successful. But he was very different to everything in Italy. It was shocking and it was great. Me, coming from Spain, I fell in love with it! I thought that I would love to meet him one day,” he told the Official Brighton & Hove Albion Podcast.

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