De Zerbi was officially appointed Brighton head coach on Sunday, signing a four-year contract at the Amex.
On Tuesday, in his first press conference as Seagulls boss, Italian De Zerbi spoke mainly through a translator, though opened with a short statement in English.
‘I’m sorry for my English, my goal is to start to speak English by January,’ he said.
‘I’m very happy to be here, I’m very happy to be the new head coach, and I want to say thank you to the chairman and the club. I have studied every single player, and I will do a very good job.
‘Brighton strongly wanted me as a coach, and their style of play is very similar to my idea of football. We met each other straight after we had started to talk. Of course, other teams were interested in me, but I’m delighted to be here.’
This is De Zerbi’s first experience of English football, having previously managed Benevento and Sassuolo in his native Italy, before a short spell in charge of Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk last season.
And the 43-year-old said that it was none other than Guardiola who persuaded him to become a Premier League manager, adding: ‘I spoke to Pep on Sunday evening, yes. He’s very happy that I’m on board here.
‘He told me very good things about the club, and if I need, he will be very happy to help me – but of course not in the match we are playing against them!’
De Zerbi also spoke of the agony of having to leave Shakhtar early, doing so in July due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
‘Of course, I was not expecting everything to finish in February, and of course it was bad not only due to the war but having to leave something going very well.
‘What I can do is keep working with the same passion. Of course, I have in me these experiences but also feeling for the Ukrainian people and the players I trained.’
De Zerbi will make his Brighton debut against Liverpool at Anfield on 1st October.
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