By G9ija

Roberto De Zerbi has revealed he received a phone call from Pep Guardiola before the Italian was appointed as the new Brighton boss on Sunday evening.

The 43-year-old is seen as one of the most promising young coaches in the game and impressed during his time at Sassuolo, before also winning the Ukrainian Premier League with Shakhtar Donetsk last season. But De Zerbi left the club in July because of the situation resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He was understood to be Brighton’s first choice to replace Graham Potter, who jumped ship to Chelsea earlier this month following the Blues’ shock decision to sack Thomas Tuchel. De Zerbi was officially unveiled as Brighton’s new manager on Tuesday afternoon, as club delayed the press conference as a mark of respect to the Queen, whose state funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning.

When asked about his relationship with Guardiola, De Zerbi revealed that he spoke to the Manchester City manager shortly before his appointment as Brighton boss. The Spaniard spoke fondly of the Seagulls and claimed he would always be free for a chat if De Zerbi needs anything.

De Zerbi said: “For me, it’s very easy to start working here at Brighton because I know the work that has been done by Potter before. There are a lot of players that are close to my idea of football.

“He is very happy I am on board here. He told me very good things about the club. He told me if I need he will be happy to help me, of course not in the match we are playing against them.”

He also revealed that he elected to join the Premier League side over a host of other opportunities. “Brighton strongly wanted me as a coach, and their style of play is very similar to my idea of football,” he added.