Brighton team news: South American ace back to face Man United as De Zerbi ponders Billy Gilmour role

Brighton and Hove Albion welcome Manchester United to the Amex Stadium on Thursday night.
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi praised Billy Gilmour after his fine display against WolvesBrighton and Hove Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi praised Billy Gilmour after his fine display against Wolves
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi praised Billy Gilmour after his fine display against Wolves

Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi faces perhaps his most challenging selection yet as he prepares his team to face Manchester United in the Premier League.

De Zerbi rested his three star players during the 6-0 win against Wolves last Saturday at the Amex Stadium. Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma were all on the bench as they recovered after an energy sapping FA Cup semi-final loss to Man United, swiftly followed by a bruising 3-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

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The trio all came on for the second half against Wolves last Saturday but the likes of Deniz Undav and Billy Gilmour – who have had limited chances to shine this term – both impressed.

It leaves De Zerbi with a serious selection head-scratcher as he prepares his team for another crack at Erik ten Hag's Man United.

De Zerbi is carefully managing his squad as Adam Lallana (thigh), Joel Veltman (hamstring), Evan Ferguson (ankle), Tariq Lamptey (knee) and Jakub Moder (knee) are all set to miss out.

Gilmour in particular impressed from the start against Wolves and will hope to maintain his spot in the spot in the starting XI. Even if Mac Allister and Caicedo do return, there could be an opening in the midfield as Pascal Gross is likely to switch to right back as Veltman is struggling with his hamstring.

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If Gilmour plays, that could however see Julio Enciso drop to the bench and that too would tough on the Paraguayan was also very good against Wolves.

Mitoma will likely return to the left wing, with Danny Welbeck leading the line and Solly March on the right. Meaning it could boil down to a decision between Gilmour or Enciso for that third midfield slot ahead of the Mac Allister and Caicedo pivot – unless of course Mac Allister is used in an advanced role with Gilmour slotting in alongside Caicedo. It's little wonder De Zerbi said he will be having sleepless nights this week as he ponders his team to face third placed Man United.

De Zerbi will also have to decide if he sticks with Adam Webster at the back alongside skipper Lewis Dunk or go with Levi Colwill. The Italian head coach has rotated the two in recent weeks and although Webster played well against Wolves, he did seem to tire at towards the end.

De Zerbi also urged former Union Saint-Gilloise forward Undav to have greater self-belief following his first goals in the Premier League.

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“Undav is one of my biggest problems in Brighton and I want to explain why,” he said. “He has big potential and he has big quality but it seems like he doesn’t believe in himself.

“And I would like to help him believe more in himself, because he has quality. He has it all to be a player in the first XI, but he has to understand faster because the time in football flies.

“Undav is unique in our squad because he scores like a number nine and he has the quality to play like a number 10.”