Roberto De Zerbi urges Brighton to take dead rubber Aston Villa game seriously
Roberto De Zerbi insists Europa League-bound Brighton will not be in holiday mode during their Premier League finale at Aston Villa.
Albion’s visit to Villa Park had been earmarked as a potentially pivotal contest in the battle for European football.
But the Seagulls travel to the West Midlands relatively pressure free having already cemented sixth position following Wednesday evening’s thrilling 1-1 draw at home to champions Manchester City.
Seventh-placed Villa need to win on Sunday to extinguish any prospect of Tottenham or Brentford leapfrogging them into the Europa Conference League spot.
Despite the match being a dead rubber for Brighton, head coach De Zerbi is determined to maintain standards and register a 19th victory of a record-breaking campaign.
“We have to respect our club, our fans, ourself in every situation,” said the Italian.
“In training sessions, in friendly games, in Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, we have to play seriously, all the time.
“We will prepare our best for the next game and we leave to Birmingham to win and to play in our way.
“I spoke with the players, we have to arrive ready and the holiday has not started.”
Villa were one of only five visiting teams to win at the Amex Stadium this term thanks to a 2-1 success in Brighton’s final game before the World Cup.
That November victory came in Unai Emery’s third top-flight match in charge of the club following the sacking of Steven Gerrard.
Former Arsenal boss Emery has transformed Villa’s season after arriving with his side sitting just above the relegation zone.
“Aston Villa deserve to achieve Europe,” said De Zerbi.
“Emery has changed the season for Aston Villa. They have big players. They have a clear style of play and it will be a tough game.”