Brighton youngster picked to start at Newcastle despite not being in 'top condition'

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Roberto De Zerbi has picked Julio Enciso in his starting line-up at Newcastle – despite earlier revealing the Brighton youngster was not in 'top condition'.

De Zerbi has made one change to the Albion side that beat Aston Villa 1-0 at the Amex last time out, with Enciso, 20, replacing the injured Joao Pedro.

“Pedro has a problem with his ankle,” De Zerbi said, in his pre-match press conference.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It’s sad news for us. I don’t know, today it happened and I don’t know if tomorrow he can play. I am sad for that because Joao is important for us, especially in this moment for us when Julio Enciso and Ansu Fati are not at their top condition.”

Brighton's Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso has been named in the starting line-up at Newcastle. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)Brighton's Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso has been named in the starting line-up at Newcastle. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Brighton's Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso has been named in the starting line-up at Newcastle. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

On Enciso – who had a big impact as a substitute last weekend – De Zerbi added: “Julio has been unlucky this season and he has to stay focused and work in pre-season.

"He has to accept this moment, playing with calm, with teammates, not alone on the pitch.

"He’s young, he hasn’t played so many games, so his motivation is higher than a normal player. The reaction can be to play alone, to shoot and not make assists, because Julio has a big character.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He needs to play, but in the right way. Sometimes if you want to show more, you can make mistakes. I have spoken a lot of times with him. He’s a good guy, he’s like my son and I try to help him like my son, telling him the advice.”

De Zerbi has challenged his players to continue where they left off against Aston Villa.

The Italian said: “We played a good game, but I like to be honest and Villa like us in the last few months are suffering a lot of injuries and Villa weren’t at their normal level.

"We deserved to win, we played a good game with and without the ball, we created a lot of chances and could have scored more. We have to continue in this way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"St James’ Park is the best stadium in the Premier League, last season is still in my head, they have an incredible atmosphere. They are in a good moment.“Newcastle and Brighton, we have both paid a big price because, maybe I speak for ourselves, but maybe we weren’t ready to compete in three, four competitions and we suffer a lot of injuries.

"With Joelinton, Almiron, Isak, Wilson in good condition, they can fight for the Champions League qualification. Their level is higher than they are in this moment.”

De Zerbi said ‘it is in Newcastle’s DNA’ to play on the frontfoot. Eddie Howe’s side have scored 13 goals in the last four games.

The Brighton boss added: “They have Gordon, Isak, Almiron and Wilson. Fantastic players. Longstaff, Joelinton, Guimaraes are midfielders, but they score goals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"They are very good with the ball. They play with two full-backs who are attacking and the DNA of Newcastle is to score goals, one more than the opponent.”

Asked if he had a message for the Brighton supporters, ahead of a long trip to Newcastle, De Zerbi said: “I said in the last press conference, on Tuesday [at the fans’ forum], we are sad, disappointed for our fans because we wished to compete in different ways in the last three months and we are disappointed for that, but they have to be proud, I know they [the players] gave their best.”

Brighton: Verbruggen, Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Igor, Gilmour, Gross, Buonanotte, Enciso, Adingra, Welbeck

Subs: Steele, Lamptey, Lallana, Moder, Baleba, Fati, Offiah, Baker-Boaitey, O'Mahony

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Newcastle: Dubravka, Livramento, Hall, Bruno Guimaraes, Krafth, Burn, S. Longstaff, Anderson, Isak, J. Murphy, Gordon

Subs: Trippier, Dummett, Joelinton, Ritchie, Barnes, Pope, Almiron, White, A. Murphy

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.