De Zerbi knows Brighton must play ‘seriously’ against Grimsby with FA Cup semi on the line
Roberto De Zerbi says it would be a “big mistake” for Brighton to underestimate League Two Grimsby Town in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final.
Town have beaten five clubs above them in the pyramid – Plymouth, Cambridge, Burton, Luton and Southampton – to land a plum tie with the high-flying Seagulls.
Nevertheless, De Zerbi admits that on paper his side have a huge opportunity to reach a Wembley semi-final.
“It will be a difficult game,” the Italian said at his pre-match press conference.
“But I want (the) players to give 100 per cent of possibilities.
“I want our fans to support our players because Sunday is a difficult game. We have to not think, ‘We are Brighton from the Premier League and Grimsby are in the fourth division’, because we would make a big mistake.
“We have to play seriously, because for us it is a big opportunity to go to Wembley.”
Brighton will be without right-back Tariq Lamptey, who suffered a knee injury against West Ham a fortnight ago.
“Tariq isn’t available, but the other players are good,” added De Zerbi. “I want to wait until tomorrow morning to decide the first XI. I want to pick the best team.”
Adam Lallana and Jakub Moder remain on the sidelines.
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Earlier this week, Brighton defender Levi Colwill said he wants to build on their derby win over Crystal Palace by reaching the FA Cup semis.
Solly March’s first-half goal settled the grudge match on the south coast to keep the Seagulls in the hunt for Europe next season.
But they will put the race for the top four on the backburner this weekend when they take on Sky Bet League Two club Grimsby in the last eight of the cup.
Colwill returned to the Brighton back four after two months out injured and helped them to a fifth win out of six at the Amex Stadium.
“I loved the atmosphere, the fans were amazing and the stadium was booming at the end,” he told the club website. “Out there it felt like they were a 12th man.
“It was a tough last few minutes with all the stoppage time but the rewards are so great at the end of it.
“Everyone works hard as a defensive unit to get a clean sheet so it was massive for us, and a really big three points.
“We work hard so when we get the result it means so much to us, it’s an achievement. It’s the best feeling in the world.
“We have to keep pushing and make sure we get three points in as many games as we can. We can do anything if we stick together and look ahead no more than the next game, which for us is Grimsby on Sunday, another big one for us.”
Shot-shy Palace remain in 12th place despite an 11-game winless run which leaves them only three points above the relegation zone.
“We showed the character and personality and played some really good football at times,” said manager Patrick Vieira.
“When you look at those aspects, it’s positive. But the most important thing is to score.”
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