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Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi calls Forest clash the biggest game of the season

Roberto De Zerbi believes Brighton’s trip to Nottingham Forest is his biggest game of the season.

Albion travel to the City Ground to resume their push across Europe after an agonizing FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester United.

Wednesday night’s clash with relegation-threatened Forest marks the start of nine Premier League games in just under five weeks for the eighth-place Seagulls.

De Zerbi is determined to make history by bringing continental football to Sussex and helping ease the pain of Sunday’s penalty shootout defeat at Wembley.

“We are still disappointed by the result,” the Brighton boss said of the 7-6 loss from the penalty spot.

“We played a fantastic game. We gave our best and we lost the game.

“We have to be stronger, we have to play tomorrow with the same passion, with the same attitude, with the same quality because we have another nine games, which is very important for us.

“We can change the history of the club, we can change the history of ourselves and we have great, great, great motivation to achieve it.

“To better accept the latest result, we have a great chance to achieve the goal in the Premier League.

“I think tomorrow is the most important game of our season. We have to restart in our own way, in our style. And winning tomorrow for us is a great result”.

De Zerbi is hopeful Danny Welbeck will feature after he was injured against United, while revealing that 18-year-old Argentinian midfielder Facundo Buonanotte will make his full debut.

Evan Ferguson will be reassessed after missing the trip to Wembley with an ankle problem suffered in the 2-1 win against Chelsea the previous weekend.

De Zerbi is not willing to take chances with the striker, who is set to sign a new long-term contract at Amex Stadium.

The Republic of Ireland international is already linked to Albion until 2026, having signed his first professional contract in October, his 18th birthday.

The terms of the extension are understood to reward Ferguson’s recent progress and De Zerbi believes Brighton is the best place for the teenager to develop amid reported interest from rival Premier League clubs.

“It’s very important news,” said the coach about the contract. “He can improve a lot with us.

“In Brighton, there are the right conditions for young players and he is still 18 years old. We must not forget that.

“He is playing very well. With Man United (game), we did badly without him because he has different qualities, he can give us different solutions in the last 20, 30 meters.

“I don’t want to take any chances with him. We have another nine games and maybe it can be important for the last eight, if there is any risk (against Forest).”

Winger Solly March is expected to retain his starting job after missing the decisive penalty at the national stadium.

“Today we restart training and the feeling is good for the players,” De Zerbi said.

“For Solly, it can happen. In the penalty you can score and you can make a mistake and there is no problem.

“You have to be proud. We love him, we support him, especially when we lose and when we make some mistakes. Strong people are when you lose and start over stronger.”



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