De Zerbi: ‘I’d rather lose the Champions League with Guardiola…’

Roberto De Zerbi

Roberto De Zerbi says he would rather lose the Champions League Final with Pep Guardiola on the bench than win it with another coach.

“German football is tactically more advanced than the Italian one, but we read the games better,” De Zerbi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Tuchel is a great coach but I would rather lose the Champions League Final with Guardiola on the bench than win it with another coach. However, City won and dominated the Premier League with the best defence,” he continued.

De Zerbi was named Shakhtar coach earlier this month and has explained why he moved to Ukraine from Sassuolo.

“Some Italian clubs called me, but I think this was the right choice. I don’t care about the money or the country, I just want to be myself,” he revealed.

“Shakhtar convinced me, the transfer strategies must be shared, both in terms of sales and new signings. My priority was being able to work following my ideas.

“Everything regarding the pitch must depend on me. I can complete myself here through training sessions in English and dealing with a dressing room of foreign players. I’ve always said I don’t care about the club’s name, I care about the project.

“Winning the league is our main target, the season begins on July 20. Then we have the Champions League playoffs. It will be a difficult but thrilling experience. I’ve left my comfort zone to challenge myself.”

De Zerbi is delighted to see three of his former players join the Italy national team for the Euros.

“Locatelli, Raspadori and Berardi are going to the Euros because they are really strong. They are good and smart guys,” he said.

“Raspadori has already proved he can make the difference in Serie A. He is similar to Aguero, but he is not good only inside the box. When he drops deep to pick up the ball, he has the quality of a No.10.

“He is not very tall, but he is physically strong. Height is not everything. He never gives up, it’s tough to play against him.”