Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi wants his side to embrace the emotion of Saturday’s clash with rivals Crystal Palace as they look to continue their great form.
he Seagulls have won five of their last six games in all competitions and sit sixth in the Premier League, with two matches in hand on Tottenham above them.
They are 10 points clear of Palace but have not beaten the Londoners since March 2019, drawing four and losing two of the last six meetings.
This is De Zerbi’s first experience of the clash, and he told a press conference: “I live for this game. It’s an honour to play this game. We must play a bold game, aggressive game, but I don’t want to lose our quality, our style of play.
“The first part of the season has been fantastic in terms of results, in terms of quality of play, and we have to continue in this way. But tomorrow is a different game.
“The emotions are the most important part of football and we have to feel the emotion in the football. But we have to be clear to the other things, to be focused on the game, on our quality, on our style of play, but we have to feel it’s a different game.
“We want to beat them for sure. We want to make our fans happy. It will be a very important game for us. I love this kind of game, we are ready to play.”
Albion will have World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister available again after he served a one-match ban for collecting five yellow cards, and De Zerbi confirmed the Argentinian will go straight back into the side.
“It will be great to have Alexis back, he will play tomorrow,” said the Italian. “He’s a very important player for us, it’s excellent to have him available.”
Brighton will still be without injured duo Adam Lallana and Levi Colwill but striker Evan Ferguson is available again after sitting out last weekend’s victory over Bournemouth.
De Zerbi is weighing up whether to put the 18-year-old straight back in, saying: “Evan Ferguson is available, but I have a decision to make between him and Deniz Undav. He played well last week. Evan is more of a striker, but Deniz is also very important to how we play.”
De Zerbi is looking forward to locking horns with Palace boss Patrick Vieira.
“They are a good team with good players and a good manager,” said De Zerbi.
“Patrick was a fantastic player, I don’t know him too well as a coach. I respect him and his work there.”