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I don’t like English referees – Roberto De Zerbi unhappy after Brighton held

Roberto De Zerbi admitted he does not like “80 per cent of Premier League referees” after 10-man Brighton were held to a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.

Simon Adingra had put the Seagulls ahead with a brilliant solo run but the game changed on Mahmoud Dahoud’s red card in the 69th minute.

Midfielder Dahoud stamped on Ben Osborn’s Achilles, with Adam Webster putting through his own goal moments later to take the Blades off the bottom of the table for the first time since September 23.

Referee John Brooks, second left, shows a red card to Brighton’s Mahmoud Dahoud, second right
Referee John Brooks shows a red card to Brighton’s Mahmoud Dahoud, second right (Steven Paston/PA)

De Zerbi, who was also booked for his touchline antics, did not disagree with the red card shown by John Brooks but said: “I am honest and clear… I don’t like 80 per cent of English referees.

“That isn’t a new opinion. I don’t like them. I don’t like their behaviour on the pitch.

“England is the only country where when there is VAR, you are not sure that the decision is right. In other countries, you have to be sure 100 per cent that the decision taken is right. In England, no, and I am not able to understand.”

De Zerbi is now on his longest run without a league win as Brighton manager, with his side six matches without taking three points.

“We are spending time in an unlucky period,” said the Italian. “I think we have lost four points; two against Fulham and two today.

“After the red card, I didn’t like the team.

Roberto De Zerbi, left, reacts at the end of Brighton's draw with Sheffield United
Roberto De Zerbi, left, reacts at the end of his side’s draw with Sheffield United (Steven Paston/PA)

“There wasn’t a game until the red card. There was only one team on the pitch. Brighton could have won the game two or three nil, but after the red card the game changed.

“After the red card we can say other things but the situation with one player less, we lost order and our style.”

Adingra went on a mazy run before finishing after a give-and-go with Facundo Buonanotte in the fifth minute. But after the red card, Jayden Bogle’s powerful cross was diverted into his own goal by Webster.

It was the first time United had strung two games without defeat together in the top flight since July 2020 – not that Paul Heckingbottom is worried after a first away point of the season and getting off the bottom.

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom’s side moved off the bottom of the table (Steven Paston/PA)

He said: “It is irrelevant – maybe getting off the bottom is important because people keep mentioning it but I’m not bothered. Not yet.

“What is pleasing is how we’ve played against a good team.

“It is always about the points. I can give lots of reasons why we haven’t picked up more points this season: the way we started the season, final moments in games where we could and should have.

“But until you get them they are just excuses. It is about the points and we want to keep picking up the points.

“There have been moments in every game but in the last two games it has been us being the stronger team at the end and that is what I want to see. It gives us a huge lift.”