Joao Pedro absence explained as Brighton's record signing misses out at Wolves

Brighton's £30m man Joao Pedro had to settle for a place on the bench for Brighton at Wolves today.
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Albion’s record signing looked sharp in pre-season and also scored his first Premier League goal for Brighton from the spot during the 4-1 win against Luton at the Amex last week.

The ex-Watford man however was one of three changes for the trip to face Gary O’Neil’s Wolves as Julio Enciso came in for Pedro. Fit-again defender Adam Webster was selected ahead of Jan Paul van Hecke and ex-Chelsea man Billy Gilmour was in from the start in favour of Mo Dahoud, who had started against the Hatters in midfield.

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The Pedro decision was the main talking point but De Zerbi has a number of options in attacking areas and is looking for his strikers to be more ruthless in front of goal.

Joao Pedro of Brighton in action last week against Luton TownJoao Pedro of Brighton in action last week against Luton Town
Joao Pedro of Brighton in action last week against Luton Town

"This year I am really lucky to have a very important squad," The Italian said just ahead of kick-off. "Every player is inside the project, the mentality. There are many players of the same level and I have a choice depending on the week of work, depending on their physical and mental condition.

"We have to improve to score many goals. But I am positive because we are improving and reaching a higher level."

On Friday, speaking on Pedro at the press conference prior to the match, De Zerbi added: “Joao Pedro is a great player... I want him to think in his head to [represent] the Brazilian national team.

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"He is a great player, already a great player, but I would like him to improve his mentality. If he can score three goals in a game, he has to score three goals in a game.

"When he loses the ball, he has to work harder but he is not a complete player yet... but I would like him to progress and reach his potential, like [I do with] Evan Ferguson.”