Manchester City will attempt to shake off the disappointment of last Sunday when they face Brighton this Saturday, but Pep Guardiola knows it won’t be easy.
City’s perfect start to the season was ended by a frustrating 1-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield. Guardiola’s team has fallen four points behind league leaders Arsenal, and their forthcoming schedule does not seem easy.
The next visitors to the Etihad Stadium will be Brighton, a club that Guardiola holds in high regard.
The City manager has been quite appreciative of the Seagulls and former manager Graham Potter in recent years, to the point where some have speculated that the coach could one day succeed Pep at City.
Potter has since left for Chelsea and was replaced last month by Italian coach Roberto De Zerbi.
Although Guardiola and De Zerbi have never worked together, Guardiola is well aware of his qualities, having served as a mentor to the 43-year-old during his coaching career.
De Zerbi first met Guardiola while he was still coaching Bayern Munich, and he has stayed in touch with him while coaching Sassuolo, Shakhtar Donetsk, and now Brighton.
Last season, Guardiola mentioned De Zerbi when discussing the most interesting Italian managers, and De Zerbi has spoken extensively about his style of play and its similarities to Guardiola’s.
“Guardiola’s football, I think it is unreachable,” De Zerbi – who labelled Guardiola’s Barcelona team the best side of the last 40 years – said at his Brighton unveiling last month.
When describing how his teams play, he said: “Don’t throw away the ball, that is something very clear. [I want] to attack, to make the game… to attack in the right way and, when we do not have the ball, to take it back as fast as we can.” Sound familiar?
Before agreeing to take the Brighton job, De Zerbi flew to Manchester to meet Guardiola and ask for his advice.
“He was very complimentary about the club. And he said he’d be pleased to support me if I needed it, but not in the match we’re playing against them!”
After an exciting 3-3 draw with Liverpool in De Zerbi’s debut as manager, the Seagulls have gone three games without scoring.
Guardiola is aware that the apprentice has the ability to turn on the master at the Etihad on Saturday.