Brighton confirm surprise departure of Roberto De Zerbi as head coach

Head coach Roberto De Zerbi will leave Brighton  (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)
Head coach Roberto De Zerbi will leave Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed that head coach Roberto De Zerbi will leave the Amex Stadium club after their final match of the season.

The Seagulls impressed last season with De Zerbi’s attacking style leading them to a sixth-place finish, sending them into Europe for the first time and seeing several players star, most notably Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo, who both went on to make big-money moves last summer.

However, between Europa League demands and significant injury issues sustained this term, Brighton have struggled to match the consistency they showed last term, sitting tenth in the Premier League table ahead of the final match of the campaign.

They face Manchester United at home on Sunday and have made the announcement ahead of that fixture to allow supporters to “give Roberto and his staff a wonderful and fully deserved send off”.

Brighton have only won one of their last nine matches and were knocked out of the Europa League by Roma last month following a heavy first-leg defeat. De Zerbi is one of the many coaches who have been linked with the Bayern Munich job after Thomas Tuchel confirmed he would be departing, but in his exit statement suggested he would “take a break” before embarking on a new coaching challenge.

“Roberto has given us two excellent seasons of service in which he has led the club to new heights, not least our first ever European campaign which will live long in the memory of Albion fans.

“We have mutually agreed to end Roberto’s contract at a time that suits both parties allowing us the earliest opportunity to plan for next season, and Roberto plenty of time to consider his next move and his future.

“I am sure our fans will give Roberto and his staff a wonderful and fully deserved send off at the Amex before, during and after tomorrow’s match.

De Zerbi himself added: “I am very sad to be leaving Brighton, but I am very proud of what my players and staff have achieved with the support of everyone at the club and our amazing fans in the past two historical seasons.

“We have agreed to end my time at Brighton so that the club and I can continue to work in the way that suits each of us best, following our own ideas and visions, as well as our work and human values.

“I have really enjoyed an intense and challenging two years working in the Premier League, not least competing in four major competitions this season. Leaving now provides me with time to take a break before deciding on my future plans.”