Brighton and Hove Albion’s assistant head coach Andrea Maldera hopes the Seagulls can continue their curious run of big wins without Roberto De Zerbi when they visit Tottenham on Saturday.
De Zerbi was set to serve a touchline ban at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, having received his third yellow card of the Premier League season during last week’s 4-1 win over rivals Crystal Palace.
The fiery Italian may now miss the game entirely, however, after being forced to undergo “invasive” dental surgery which could leave him unable to travel to north London.
Read our other football news stories here:
Hwang available for Wolves following Asian Cup heartache
Arteta was unaware of ‘celebration police’ criticising Arsenal
Son back for Tottenham despite South Korea disappointment
De Zerbi served two touchline bans last season, but Maldera did an admirable job in his absence, with Brighton thrashing West Ham 4-0 and Grimsby Town 5-0 (in the FA Cup) in those matches.
Asked whether another big win might be on the cards on Saturday, Maldera said: “I hope so! It’s a different game, for sure.
“Roberto was close to us, in the stands, for the other games, but I don’t know if he can be there tomorrow.
“He will see the doctor again today, and it will depend on whether he can fly or not. If we are alone tomorrow, I hope we don’t have a big disaster!”
Another Albion away day approaching! ✊ pic.twitter.com/ng071rwt8p
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) February 9, 2024
Maldera says De Zerbi’s possible absence puts greater responsibility on Brighton’s players, but he expects them to remain professional and play their usual game.
“Roberto is not happy! I spoke with him this morning, he wanted to take the team, for sure,” Maldera added. “He’s not here physically, but he is here with his personality.
“The players have a bigger responsibility and they know it. We hope that tomorrow they can also play for him.”