Roberto De Zerbi admits he has some injury headaches ahead of Brighton’s clash with on Sunday, with Lewis Dunk, Pascal Gross, and James Milner all doubts.
The Seagulls were in action on Thursday, surprisingly losing 3-2 to AEK Athens in their first ever game in the competition.
Dunk and Ferguson sat out the game, with the former struggling with a muscle issue and the latter illness.
Milner started the game, but was forced off with an issue in the second half, while Gross played the full match but De Zerbi confirms he has suffered an injury.
The Italian coach did not rule any of the quartet out of Sunday’s game, but did suggest they are all doubts as Brighton return to Premier League action.
‘I don’t know the situation with James Milner,’ De Zerbi told a press conference on Friday. ‘Pascal [Gross] has a muscular problem. We have to analyse the situation and take the best decision.
‘With Lewis [Dunk] we can’t take any risks (with his muscular problem), especially at this point of the season. With Evan [Ferguson], there’s a chance he can play.
‘I’m more worried about the injuries than the result (on Thursday), because we lost against West Ham, a very close game, and then we won against Newcastle and Man United. We have to analyse the quality of the performance, the attitude of the players, not the result.’
If experienced trio Dunk, Gross and Milner are all out then De Zerbi says their leadership roles must be taken on by other players, but he says his squad has no shortage of candidates.
‘We have to find another leader,’ he said. ‘Gross is a big leader for us. [Danny] Welbeck is another big leader. I think Adam Webster is a leader, one of the best leaders inside the dressing room. He’s not had a very good moment in terms of his physical condition, but when he plays, he plays every game in a good way.
‘We have a lot of younger players and they have to progress in their leadership, and I am speaking about Billy Gilmour, [Mahmoud] Dahoud, Pervis Estupinan. Pervis is young but he has the potential to be another leader.’
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