Just ask Dario Dileo or many like him.
Dario studied match analysis at Coverciano, the Italian Football Federation’s training center in Florence.
The result was a 20-page dossier that can be accessed through the official website of the Italian Football Federation.
Many Albion fans have done their homework on De Zerbi.
But very few in this depth, as part of a full-time course.
Dario said: “In recent years he has been the most innovative coach in Italy.
“He managed to get good results with a proactive game, also with Sassuolo.
“I started following his games in 2018-19 when he arrived in Sassuolo.
“Lately I’ve been doing the Italian Football Federation’s match analysis course at Coverciano and studying De Zerbi very intensively.
“But I started following him out of passion for football.”
Albion fans have now taken a look.
But for many, when Tottenham visit, the first sight in person will come from a seat in the stands.
Call it what you want – De Zerbi ball, Dezerbismo.
“We don’t use dezerbismo,” Dario emphasized.
“There are five fundamentals to his football.
“One, balance. Second, ball played on the floor.
“Three, movements starting with the goalkeeper.
“Four, so many short passes that if one misses they get the ball back easier.
“Five, if they lose the ball, win it back as soon as possible.”
Dario revealed that he spent the last part of his exam looking at Albion.
He added: “De Zerbi is the right choice in my opinion.”
Dario’s work The Evolution Of De Zerbis Sassuolo is an impressive document.
He said: “In Coverciano’s library I found his thesis My Model Of The Game, which he presented for the UEFA Pro course in 2017.
“I was trying to find out if he was realizing his footballing ideas and if that helped his team to get better results and improve the performance of each player in his squad.”
A game does not have a large sample size, especially if that game is at Anfield.
Matches against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool tend to be dynamic and entertaining.
According to whoscored.com, Albion passed the ball 460 times at Anfield, compared to a game average of 432 this season.
The 78% pass rate was lower than the mid-80s he had every season with Sassuolo and improved a little each year.
But it has matched the Seagulls’ own numbers for the season so far.
But sometimes what the opposition is doing tells you as much as what you are doing yourself.
Or at least the success of what you do.
Liverpool love to press. There is a general criticism that they are not doing this with the panache and energy that they have done in the past.
But de Zerbi said they started thinking twice about pressing too hard when they saw Albion string five or six passes together.
Tottenham’s approach could well be different from Liverpool’s.
They might be harder to lure Robert Sanchez, Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster and Co than Liverpool was.
Perhaps we’ll learn more about De Zerbi’s thoughts on this when he speaks to the media today.
Back in Coverciano, Dario’s work highlights an inconsistency in De Zerbi’s numbers at Sassuolo.
And that might underscore a willingness to mix things up with good effect.
He writes: “The only number that doesn’t match the others are long passes.
“Sassuolo’s game depended heavily on building from a base and beating the first line of opposition pressing through their football.
“Probably the move from 2019-20 to 2020-01 was due to opposing teams changing their style of play against Sassuolo, which brought much more high pressing and took Sassuolo longer to find other ways to create danger.
“The stats show that Sassuolo has never shied away from building and maintaining possession.”
The 20 pages of graphs, data, quotes and insights make for a fascinating read – up to a point. Equally interesting is why young coaches and technical staff study De Zerbi so thoroughly.
serious stuff. But also enjoy what we’ve seen at Anfield and its previous clubs.
Enjoy your time studying at Amex.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/23032706.roberto-de-zerbi-subject-italian-fa-thesis/?ref=rss Why Roberto De Zerbi is the subject of an Italian FA dissertation