Brighton star reveals support from '25 former teammates' as Albion beat Ajax again
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The Dutchman, 21, helped to keep a clean sheet against the four-time European champions and revealed post-match that he had some special support in the crowd.
“It was funny because I had like ten, 15 family but then my old team, Anderlecht, came on their players’ coach - 25 people, they were all here,” Verbruggen said.
"I got to see them after the game which was really nice. It was good to see everyone. They texted me to say they were all coming. It was nice to see.
“It didn’t up the stakes, I was just happy to see everybody again. It’s nice that they still think of me and my family supports me the way I do. I'm a lucky guy.”
Verbruggen played 24 games for Belgian Pro League side Anderlecht – winning player of the season in the 2022/23 season – before moving to Brighton.
Before Anderlecht, the Dutchman played for NAC Breda in the Netherlands but he never made a competitive appearance.
"Of course, it's been extra special this match,” Verbruggen said after the win at Ajax.
"We've all been looking for to it. When we drew Ajax, we were all buzzing. This was one of the games you put a circle around.
"To come away with a win and clean sheet is the best feeling in the world.
"Ajax is a massive club, everybody knew what difficult period they were in but there was a big difference from two weeks ago, we saw a different Ajax. We still beat them, so.
"I was young when I joined Anderlecht and I never really played in the Dutch league. To come here and play in the stadium to play in this team was something on my bucket list. I am just happy I won.”
Verbruggen – who knew ‘quite early’ that he would be starting in his home country – has been operating as a joint number one season, alongside Jason Steele, with both players constantly rotated by Roberto De Zerbi.
"I'm the one joining a new club so I have to adapt to the way things go,” the young keeper said.
"I am trying to do that as best as I can. Trying to fight every day, every week – play every minute I can, be an important player for the team and a good teammate whether that's on or off the pitch.”
Ansu Fati and Simon Adingra combined twice to secure Brighton’s 2-0 win.
Verbruggen hailed the pair, who also combined for the second goal against Ajax at the Amex.
"Watching them do their thing was as enjoyable for me as it was for you guys,” he said.
"Ansu’s quality is not even a discussion. Everyone knows. He is so good and so important for us.
"Their partnership getting stronger, it's something we work on. You can see it grow every game. Not just them, all the relationships on the pitch. It's a massive thing for us. It was really nice to see today."
The goalkeeper also praised Igor Julio and Billy Gilmour who stepped in earlier than expected after Lewis Dunk and James Milner suffered first-half injuries.
Verbruggen said: “Milner and Dunk are massive for us, in terms of their experience and leadership.
"Igor and Billy come on and the level didn't drop for a second. We all stepped up as a team. Big complements to those guys, they really helped us to get this victory.
“Of course we enjoy tonight, we need to enjoy the wins, recover tomorrow and then after 24 hours we have Sheffield [United].
“We are not making any long term precisions. We have a very good team, an ambitious team as well. The future can be bright.”