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'How Maldera led Brighton highlighted this is more than a one-man show'

Brighton fan's voice graphic
Brighton fan's voice graphic

Roberto de Zerbi is a force of nature with his infectious, inspiring personality. That makes it easy to overlook the importance of his backroom team to the success the Italian has delivered in his 17 months at the helm so far.

However, with De Zerbi laid up in Italy after dental surgery and missing the Seagulls' trip to Spurs, assistant head coach Andrea Maldera had a chance to shine. And the way he led Brighton highlighted both what a character De Zerbi is and also that this is much more than a one-man show.

When players who have enjoyed the careers that Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck have talk about De Zerbi as being one of the best managers they have played under, it is worth listening.

Maldera has had quite the footballing journey himself, with many years' service at AC Milan before becoming assistant manager to Andriy Shevchenko with Ukraine Under-20s.

The duo won the Fifa under-20 World Cup in 2019 and then led the senior side to their first ever quarter-final at a major tournament at Euro 2020.

Speaking before the Spurs game, Maldera, 52, said working with De Zerbi makes him feel "young again". Praise indeed. Then, in his post-game interview, Maldera came across like a teenager living his best life with a voice lost through shouting on the sidelines.

He then followed that up with a post on Instagram, enthusing about the whole experience. The passion of De Zerbi clearly rubs off on everyone, while Maldera's approach has made him a firm fan favourite. It is to Maldera's credit that you would not have known De Zerbi was out of the country in the way Brighton played at Spurs.

That seamless transition from absent head coach to assistant taking charge is a reminder that this is a team effort. In the coaching team De Zerbi has, there is plenty of talent.

Scott McCarthy can be found at We Are Brighton

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