Harry Kane’s goal leaves De Zerbis Brighton empty handed

Roberto De Zerbi has pointed out in press conferences that he feels like he’s underwater.

Don’t worry. He doesn’t have that sinking feeling.

A less literal translation would be that he’s snowed in on his new job.

There’s a lot to do to make your mark on an already strong site.

Assessing what to do, what not to do – and what not to do yet.

The changes were gradual but noticeable.

Still, that frustratingly close defeat, where much of their football deserved more, felt no different than some of the near misses of its predecessor’s earlier days.

The fact that a narrow loss to Tottenham felt so disappointing – at least until you’ve had time to think about it a little more – says a lot about where the standards are at the moment.

But after what they have painstakingly built over time has been taken away by others with more money, be they key players or off-field staff, Albion needs to rebuild to some degree.

The process will not involve a flying home start for new boss De Zerbi, but the process is ongoing.

After seeing a single Harry Kane goal, the Italian said: “The Premier League is a fantastic league.

“It’s very difficult like all other leagues, but replacing (Graham) Potter is very difficult.

“When you replace a team’s coach who is bad, you arrive and you can change everything.

“When you come to a team that is fourth in the Premier table you are either crazy or you have to be very brave.

“You have an inner conflict because you have the will to change something, but you have the thought not to change too much.

“That’s the problem. It’s not about the difficulty of the Premier League or Serie A or Ligue Un.

“The difficulty lies in keeping the balance between implementing one’s own ideas and avoiding major changes.

“But I think you can see something of me in these two games.

“I have found a team that is strong, that knows how to play, that is very brave on the pitch.”

That prowess in possession from very deep seemed to worry some fans, as skipper Lewis Dunk pointed out in an interview with BBC Radio Sussex.

Up ahead, early in the game, there were times when a team that had played together so often and so successfully that it had become second nature seemed a little hesitant and imprecise in what they were doing.

Maybe because of the subtle style changes.

But the team they played against will also have a lot to do with it.

Liverpool’s message to opponents seems to be ‘let’s play – and see if you can live with us’, and on De Zerbi’s debut Albion could certainly do that.

Spurs are more “see if you can play through us,” especially when it’s 1-0.

Albion did that sometimes. Suffice it to say that De Zerbi has a lot to offer.

But as the head coach recognized, there weren’t enough clear chances.

There were also opportunities to create chances or to go for goal, but these were not used.

It has been 21 years since a new Albion manager celebrated a win in their first home game in the league.

They didn’t really look like they were going to end that, but they could have potentially extended their home unbeaten streak to eight games in two seasons.

De Zerbi’s dip into the filing could involve changes to a starting XI that includes two bosses (as well as two monarchs, two prime ministers and six weeks).

The obvious candidate is Kaoru Mitoma, who added extra direction to the left in a second half that was more chaotic than the first.

But based on small sample sizes in two games so far, Adam Lallana appears to be on De Zerbi’s wavelength and is a strong contender to start at Brentford.

What he does between then and now remains to be seen.

When asked what pleased him and what frustrated him—and he clearly WAS frustrated at times—he revealed little.

He said: “I think we have to accept the result in every game. Not (just) today, but always.

“We have to analyze where we can improve, what we need to improve.”

A defensive liability was involved in the only goal.

Nothing wrong with Robert Sanchez’s flying save to tip away a blast from Rodrigo Bentancur, nor the initial clearance of the resulting corner.

But by the time Son Heung-min was found on the inside right, Albion had given Harry Kane plenty of room on the six-yard line.

He instinctively got to Son’s explosion and guided her home.

Kane might have added a second in the second half with an angled shot, and Son was offside as he rolled home, though by no means as much as it first seemed.

Albion sometimes didn’t pass the ball as crisply or accurately as possible, but they created enough.

Welbeck fired two shots over the goal and had saved another from Hugo Lloris who similarly saved from Moises Caicedo, Dunk sent a header just wide from a corner and Solly March was very close to finding the bottom corner as Lloris stood and watched.

All of these, save for one of the Welbeck shots, were in the first half.

In terms of chances, there wasn’t much to note in the second, but still promising and a lot to learn.

Another busy week underwater awaits.

Albion: Sanchez; Veltman (Lamptey 89), Dunk, Webster; March, Mac Allister, Caicedo (Gilmour 89), Estupinan (Mitoma 66); Gross (Lallana 82), Trossard; Welbeck. Subs: Colwill, Sarmiento, Undav, Steele, Turns Yellow card: Veltman foul.

Tottenham: Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Doherty, Bissouma (Richarlison 69), Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Son, Kane (Jump 90). Substitutions: Sánchez, Gil, Perisic, Forster, Spence, Sarr, Lenglet Yellow Card: Kane Handball, Bissouma Foul Goal: Kane 22 Referee: Tony Harrington

https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/23034927.harry-kane-goal-leaves-de-zerbis-brighton-empty-handed/?ref=rss Harry Kane’s goal leaves De Zerbis Brighton empty handed

Fry Electronics Team

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