The Spanish boss was full of praise for De Zerbi ahead of Brighton’s final game of the season.
Pep Guardiola has branded Roberto De Zerbi as “one of the most influential managers of the last 20 years” ahead of Manchester City’s clash against Brighton.
De Zerbi took over as Brighton’s manager after Graham Potter left for Chelsea earlier this season. Under the Italian boss, the Seagulls have improved their already-impressive attacking form, securing a place in the next campaign’s Europa League.
Guardiola congratulated De Zerbi on his Brighton achievement during a pre-match press conference before praising his influence.
“I am pretty convinced I am right in what I am saying: he is one of the most influential managers of the last 20 years,” Guardiola said. “There is no team playing in the way they play. It’s unique.
“I had the feeling when he arrived the impact he would have on the Premier League would be great, I couldn’t expect him to do it in this short of a team.
“He creates 20-25 chances on average per game, he’s better by far than all the opponents, he monopolises the ball in a way I’ve never seen for a long, long time. Everyone’s involved, the goalkeeper’s like a holding midfielder.
“They deserve completely the compliments and the success that they have. It’s one of the teams I try and learn a lot from. It’s unique.
“It’s like a Michelin star restaurant, it’s unique. In Catalonia there was (the restaurant) El Bulli by Ferran Adria, the best cook for many, many years and he changed completely the cuisine. I think the way Brighton is playing is something unique, it’s special. The way they move. And it’s a good incredible challenge for us to prepare for the two finals.”
Where was De Zerbi before joining Brighton?
De Zerbi started coaching in 2013 as Darfo Boario’s manager in Italy’s Serie C. Three years later, he took charge at Palermo, where he stayed only for a few months.
Another short spell at Benevento convinced Sassuolo to hire De Zerbi as their replacement for Giuseppe Iachini in 2018. However, the former Napoli player’s coaching career didn’t really take off until he led Shakhtar Donetsk to Ukraine’s Super Cup trophy in 2022.
The Italian manager’s tactics, especially his approach to pressing and quick transitions, have secured his reputation as one of the most promising managers in the Premier League since his arrival at Brighton.