'Has started to work with us and it’s great news' - Roberto De Zerbi provides major injury updates ahead of Brighton's trip to Manchester City
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Albion’s head coach spoke to the media at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon (October 19).
Asked for the latest team news, the Italian said: “James Milner is available to play and to start the game. Pascal [Gross] as well.
"We have two injuries, Pervis Estupinan and Tariq Lamptey.
"Jakub Moder has started to work with us, with the group and it’s great news for us.”
De Zerbi did not confirm how long he would be without Lamptey. The versatile 23-year-old hasn’t featured since his man-of-the-match performance at Marseille in the Europa League on October 5, as he picked up a hamstring injury.
The Moder update was far more positive.
The midfielder was included in Brighton’s 2023/2024 Premier League squad this week, despite not being seen in action since sustaining a serious knee injury in a 0-0 draw with Norwich eighteen months ago.
“When you are a player who loses one year to injury, before tactical or professional things, it’s a human thing,” De Zerbi said.
"We want to help him back from the injury. I think he can become important for us, especially if we play a lot of games after January.”
Albion travel to the Etihad without a win since the 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at the Amex on Sunday, September 24. Since then, they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Chelsea and thrashed 6-1 at Aston Villa before coming from behind twice in a week to earn 2-2 draws against Marseille and Liverpool.
Manchester City are also desperate for a win to get their season back on track. Pep Guardiola’s side went into the international break after losing 1-0 at title-rivals Arsenal – their third defeat in four games in all competitions. It was also their second consecutive Premier League defeat, following the 2-1 loss at Wolves.
De Zerbi said this was ‘bad news’ for Brighton.
"Big teams are not used to losing three games in the last four,” he said. “We have to think for ourselves and look to improve the quality of play. We are not playing enough for our level. To compete for our target, we must play better than last game.
"Against Liverpool, we played better than Villa Park, [Stade] Vélodrome, Bournemouth. We have to reach a different level for sure. Without this, we cannot reach our historic target.”
Erling Haaland also has been on a goal drought by his standards. The Norwegian superstar hasn’t found the net for City since the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on September 23.
De Zerbi said this is more ‘bad news’.
He explained: “The biggest players and biggest strikers are more hungry to score when they are not scoring as many goals.
"It’s not only Haaland. Doku is a great player for them and Alvarez if we are speaking about attackers.”
De Zerbi said ‘it’s very difficult’ to prepare to face Manchester City, adding: “It’s the toughest.
"They can play in different ways, they are used to changing positions on the pitch, they can attack with five players, with two wingers and two players behind the striker.
"In the last game they played in a different way against Arsenal and they are great at keeping the ball. We would like to keep the ball [too]. When we find another team that wants to keep the ball more than us, it’s a tougher game.”