De Zerbi on Estupinan, 'different Ajax' and keeping their own 'DNA'

Nicola Pearson, BBC Sport

Roberto de Zerbi has been speaking to the media before Brighton's Europa League match against Ajax on Thursday.

Here are the key lines from his news conference:

  • De Zerbi confirmed that Tariq Lamptey is not available for the match, but Pervis Estupinan will be on the bench and added: "Maybe he can play one part of the game. I don’t want to take a risk with him, but we don’t have too many solutions in that position."

  • Asked how the squad has grown being in the Europa League, he said: "I’m positive because I love my players and I know they are good people. We want to change the results because we know we are not winning in the Premier League, but we are fighting and it is an important first step to be ready to fight, keep our style and DNA. Then, we will arrive at the result."

  • On the club's DNA: "We are a young team with young players and a young coach and first of all, we have to keep our style because our style and spirit have been crucial to reach the target of Europe."

  • He feels Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati are "incredible talents" but they "have to play better, push more and more": "They are not big, big players yet and to reach the highest level they have to work more and better. But they know my opinion because I explained it already clearly to them."

  • On the learning process for his players in Europe, he said: "The first two games we played well but not with the same spirit or same personality. Against Ajax we dominated and deserved to win the game - I expect to see the same Brighton that I watched in that game with Ajax."

  • However, he has already seen a difference in Ajax under new interim head coach John van't Schip: "They won two games in a row in the Eredivisie. In terms of enthusiasm, courage and attitude, I think we will find a different team. In terms of style of play, I think it is clear what they want to do on the pitch. They have good players and I think it will be a totally different game, but we are able to play a good game as well."

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