Brighton and Hove Albion have lost injured pair Ansu Fati and Tariq Lamptey “for a long time”, manager Roberto De Zerbi said today (Wednesday 29 November).
De Zerbi shared the news as the Seagulls prepare for the Europa League clash with AEK Athens in the Greek capital tomorrow.
Winger Fati lasted for just 21 minutes on Saturday in the 3-2 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest while full-back Lamptey went off 13 minutes later at the City Ground.
De Zerbi told the club’s official website: “Ansu and Lamptey are both injured. We have lost them for a long time, I think.
“But the focus is on the players who can play tomorrow. We will have to compete. I don’t know if we will win but we will fight to win the game for sure.”
De Zerbi said that his side were good enough to compete at the same level in both the Europa League and the Premier League.
The Seagulls sit three points above their Greek opponents in Group B and need only a draw to qualify for the knockout phase.
The match comes after Brighton sealed their first domestic league win since September in Nottingham last weekend.
De Zerbi told a press conference: “We are good enough to compete in the Europa League and Premier League. We are reaching the best level of mentality.
“We showed great mentality against Nottingham Forest. We spent 90 minutes with a lot of difficulty but the win was nice for our fans.
“We are improving and adapting to play in big stadiums in Europe but these are normal things in football. I think we are in one of the best moments from when the season started. We can fight and play on our level.”
Brighton are undefeated in Europe away from home this season after a 2-2 draw with Marseille and a 2-0 win over Ajax – and De Zerbi insisted his side would not underestimate Athens.
He said: “We know the difficulty of the game. AEK are a very good opponent. They have a clear plan of the games and, to win, we have to show our best, play our best, with the best mentality and attitude.
“The target is the same in the Premier League or Europa League. We have to play our best. It’s a challenge for us.”