Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton in need of some Roma therapy in the Europa League as Seagulls are swept aside by Fulham in final game before Italy trip

Perhaps Roberto De Zerbi could be forgiven for keeping half an eye on the trip to his homeland on Thursday.

Things have not been quite as easy for the Italian boss during his second campaign in charge. As he navigates Brighton’s first-ever season in Europe, with a last-16 first leg against Roma in the Europa League up next, he has been hit by the sales of key players in the summer and a squad ravaged by injury.

Here, as the Seagulls were swept aside by Fulham, it felt as if the strain was weighing heavily on them.

It was all rather flat as Brighton’s defence was bullied for Harry Wilson’s opener, their midfield bypassed for Rodrigo Muniz’s second and their tired legs exposed for Adama Traore’s late third.

Afterwards, De Zerbi lamented that his team were at ‘60 per cent’ and added: ‘We played without energy. We can’t lose any more players, otherwise we can’t play. We have to find 11 players and the right energy.’

Rodrigo Muniz nabbed Fulham’s second goal as they swept Brighton aside on Saturday 

Roberto De Zerbi admitted his team were at '60 per cent', ahead of their trip to Italy in Europe

Roberto De Zerbi admitted his team were at ’60 per cent’, ahead of their trip to Italy in Europe

Perhaps the most surprising omission was Pascal Gross, who started on the bench. He had been suffering cramp and was missed as Brighton had lots of possession but little penetration.

De Zerbi was keen to focus on Thursday, adding: ‘It will be historic for us. We are not a big club. We need everybody, or we’ll be back to playing golf in midweek.’ 

Fulham’s hopes of qualifying for Europe are faint but still alive after back-to-back wins for only the second time this season. Muniz now has five goals in five games, remarkable considering he was yet to score all season before.

‘He’s getting better and better,’ said boss Marco Silva. ‘He’s so strong and difficult to deal with. There’s much more to come from him.’


FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno 6.5; Castagne 6.5, Tosin 6.5, Bassey 7, Robinson 6; Reed 7.5, Lukic 7 (Decordova-Reid 88min); Wilson 8 (Traore 84), Pereira 7.5 (Cairney 69, 6), Iwobi 7 (Willian 69, 6); Muniz 8.5 (Broja 84). 

Scorers: Wilson 21, Muniz 32, Traore 90+1. 

Booked: Decordova-Reid.

Manager: Marco Silva 7.5.

BRIGHTON (3-4-2-1): Steele 6; Veltman 5.5, Dunk 6.5 (Gross 59, 6), Webster 5; Lamptey 6 (Adingra 46, 6), Baleba 5.5 (Moder 78), Van Hecke 6.5, Estupinan 5.5; Lallana 6 (Buonanotte 59, 6), Enciso 6.5 (Fati 46, 6); Ferguson 5.5. 

Booked: Estupinan, Baleba.

Manager: Roberto De Zerbi 5.

Referee: Simon Hooper 7. 

Attendance: 24,460.