De Zerbi fends off Tottenham speculation, affirming he is ‘happy’ as Brighton boss in ‘good moment’
Roberto De Zerbi said he has a “long contract” and is “happy” at Brighton amid speculation he could replace under-fire Tottenham manager Antonio Conte.
Brighton are eighth in the Premier League having taken 25 points from 17 matches following De Zerbi’s arrival as successor to Graham Potter on the south coast.
Conte’s future at Spurs is a hot topic following the north London club’s indifferent domestic form and recent exit from the Champions League.
And De Zerbi, 43, has been mentioned as a possible candidate to take over from Conte, 10 years his senior, should the Italian’s spell at White Hart Lane come to an end.
But when quizzed on the potential vacancy at Spurs, De Zerbi, who has a contract with Brighton until the summer of 2026, said: “We are happy because the people are speaking about our quality of play.
“But we have to be focused on the next game. We have a clear focus and a clear target. For the players and for me it is the same.
“We have a long contract here at Brighton. I’m happy to work here and enjoy working with these players. I cannot ask more and, for me, it is a good moment for me and my life.”
Following their impressive run of form, the Seagulls, who face Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday, could be forgiven for holding ambitions of qualifying for Europe.
They are only three points adrift of sixth-placed Newcastle, having played a match less than Eddie Howe’s side, and seven points behind Spurs, with three games in hand.
But De Zerbi added: “We know very well that to arrive in a European spot our target is going to be difficult. We have to push, we have to think game by game.
“Tomorrow is the start of a difficult period for us because we play on Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday but we want to play every game with our quality and style.
“I’m looking forward to playing in the stadium in Leeds and I know it will be [a] hot [atmosphere], but if we want to continue with our dreams we need to win there tomorrow.”
Full-back Tariq Lamptey, who was substituted in last weekend’s 4-0 win against West Ham, is a doubt with a knee injury but Levi Colwill, sidelined for almost two months, might be available.
READ MORE: Antonio Conte now leads Premier League sack race betting as he goads Daniel Levy