Adam Lallana has opened up about what it’s like to work under the “extremely demanding” Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton – and it makes for an exhaustive yet empowering read.
The 35-year-old attacking midfielder, who joined the Seagulls in 2020 after his contract at Liverpool expired, has played under some high profile managers during his 17-year professional career.
From the likes of Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton to Roy Hodgson, Jurgen Klopp, Gareth Southgate and Graham Potter; he has once again been blessed with another outstanding coach at Brighton.
In fact, Lallana previously stated that De Zerbi has made football make “so much more sense” to him because of the Italian’s tactical input and energy.
He is clearly a huge fan of De Zerbi. Speaking to The Telegraph this month, the experienced midfielder gave a fascinating insight into his manager’s dedication to becoming the best.
“The manager? I don’t know how he does it,” Lallana said. “The prep for every game. He will have his Italian coaches around his house, the chef cooking food, watching games, it’s his life.
“His family are in Italy and he sacrifices so much. He puts everything into it. It is not luck, I will tell you that. He is obsessed. Puffing on them fags [cigarettes], no wonder. He’s a different breed.”
Lallana has also explained the differences between De Zerbi and Jurgen Klopp, a manager he worked under at Liverpool.
“My relationship with Roberto is like he’s an older sibling, an older brother I’ve never had,” he said via The Daily Mail.
“He’s demanding as hell but I just always want to impress him and make sure he’s not disappointed in me. His demands are extremely high. As demanding as Jurgen [Klopp] I’d say, but in a different way.
“The manager’s demands are, well… there are times you walk off the training pitch, there are times I’ve had to speak to lads and say don’t worry [about the intensity of what’s just happened]. It’s coming from a good place.”
Lallana added: “It’s not just me, the whole group is [invested]. It runs itself, that dressing room… it’s easily as strong as the Liverpool dressing room when we won everything. Milly [James Milner] will back that up.”
So far, Brighton have enjoyed a productive start to the Premier League campaign, winning five of their opening six games. They travel to Villa Park on Saturday as they continue to challenge high-flying Liverpool and Manchester City.