Robert De Zerbi's message to depleted Brighton and Hove Albion squad as they compete in Premier League and Europa League

Roberto De Zerbi says Brighton have to "love" the challenge of competing in the Premier League and the Europe League - despite having a depleted squad.
Roberto De Zerbi, Manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield United at American Express Community Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)Roberto De Zerbi, Manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield United at American Express Community Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Roberto De Zerbi, Manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield United at American Express Community Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Albion take on AEK Athens on Thursday in the Greek capital, looking to secure a spot in the next stage of the competition. Their cause, however, has not been helped by a hefty injury list, but head coach De Zerbi says there is enough quality in the squad to succeed in Europe and domestically.

"No, I don't like excuses. I am focused on the Europa League but the target is the same in this competition or the Premier League. When we play we have to play and give our best. It is a challenge for us, injuries are not an excuse. We are good enough to compete in the Europa League and the Premier League," he said.

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Despite being down to 10 men for nearly 30 minutes and seeing Ansu Fati and Tariq Lamptey forced off with injuries, Brighton held on to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 at City Ground on Saturday - something De Zerbi was thrilled by.vThe Italian said this proves Albion can dig deep and get results when things go against them.

"I think we are reaching the best level of mentality. We showed great mentality against Nottingham Forest. We spent 90 minutes with a lot of difficulties but the win was nice," he said. "Our fans were very happy, the same with the club, and we have to love this challenge."

A win for Brighton, who are one point behind group leaders Marseille with two games remaining, will secure their passage into the next stage of the tournament.

If they finish second, they will take on one of the Champions League sides who come third in their respective group but if Albion top the group, they will move into the last 16 of the Europa League.