Victory over Tottenham to cement Brighton’s Champions League contention

The sad state of affairs at Anfield and Stamford Bridge has created a vacuum in the top six. West Ham’s struggles made the field more open. Brighton & Hove Albion have emerged to fill the gap but still have some way to go.

Brighton should not be in these circumstances after losing Graham Potter early to Chelsea. Roberto De Zerbi arrived amidst much fanfare and has not disappointed in the dugout.

European football is no longer a dream for the Seagulls but a reality. They are five points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place and have two games in hand. A victory over Spurs in their next meeting will surely cement their European contentions and allow them to dream big.

Not one to get ahead of himself, De Zerbi admitted that success against the manager-less Tottenham will put them in the Champions League picture. It will not be an easy task to achieve with the challenge from Manchester United also in the hunt.

“If we will win then, yes,” the former Sassuolo manager remarked. “To see, we have to play, we have to fight and we have to believe.

“(Against Bournemouth) the players gave me the signal they believe in our target.

“We have to keep our humility but we want to dream and achieve Europe.”

Tough period incoming

The fixture list is congested for Brighton in the coming weeks. In addition to their Premier League responsibilities, they will also be battling Manchester United in the FA Cup semi final.

All in all, they will be involved in 12 fixtures in the upcoming 8 weeks. The mood in the bleachers is positive with fans already starting to chant about their upcoming European adventures.

De Zerbi admitted the difficulty of the task at hand and asked for all hands on deck. In his rallying call, the 43-year-old asked for belief in order to realize their ambition.

“Now we have to endure a very tough period and we need everyone inside of the dressing room,” he said.

“In the last two months of the season we will play a lot of games and it’s starting the crucial period for us.

“We have to be clear with the head, clear with the legs and to believe in ourselves because we have the quality to fight.”

Nailing Bournemouth’s Coffin

To set up the exciting duel with Tottenham for all the marbles, Brighton made little work of Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. Julio Encicso scored his first goal for the Seagulls in the matchup. However, the encounter will be remembered for Ecan Ferguson’s flicked finish.

The defeat saw the Cherries move back into the relegation slots. Prior to the result, Bournemouth had impressed with two wins in three games, triumphing against Fulham and Liverpool.

Despite the defeat, there is no doom and gloom at the Vitality Stadium. As many as seven teams are within three points of each other and can find themselves in the relegation slot come May.

Moreover, manager Gary O’Neil hailed his charges for a decent run out on the pitch, one in which they could have gotten something out of it, had it been another day.

“I think it’s the sixth game on the trot where we’ve played a team in the top 10 and we’ve had a right go in all of them, taken a decent amount of points and put ourselves in a decent position to have a right good crack at the last few games,” remarked O’Neil.

“The boys are positive, of course, whether you’re in the bottom three or not. When you go through a run like that it’s possible not to pick up many points and we have. We’ve had a real good go, it doesn’t mean the next ones are going to be any easier.

“As I’m sure Brighton found, when you play teams that are down the bottom, they put up a real good fight.”

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