Srna: ‘De Zerbi at the level of Guardiola’

epa09224337 Sassuolo's coach Roberto De Zerbi reacts at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match US Sassuolo vs SS Lazio at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia, Italy, 23 May 2021. EPA-EFE/SERENA CAMPANINI

Shakhtar Dontesk sporting director Darijo Srna said former Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi was their ‘only option’ and claimed the Italian is ‘at the level of’ Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola.

The former Neroverdi coach joined the Ukrainians this summer and currently prepares to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the Champions League tonight.

Former Cagliari player Srna, who spent 15 years as player at Shakhtar, was appointed sporting director in July 2020 and said he had only one man in mind for the job as head coach at the club.

De Zerbi wins his first trophy with Shakhtar

“We met in Italy,” Srna told AS about De Zerbi. “He was our first, second and third choice.

“He plays an incredible football, his style is like tiki-taka and he’s got Brazilian players to do it.

“Guardiola is a manager of teams like [Manchester] City, Bayern [Munich] or Barcelona. De Zerbi is within our reach, but the ideas are the same.

“He’s young, he’s hungry, he is very ambitious. He had many offers and chose us. I’m sure that when he wins with is, he will finish very high.

“De Zerbi is at the level of Guardiola in his style and the ideas of the game.”

Srna also spoke about the Real Madrid coach Ancelotti ahead of the match against Los Blancos.

“We met once in London with a mutual friend for a drink,” he said. “I like coaches who change leages and face challenges.

“For me, Ancelotti is one of the best coaches in history. He won in Germany, England, Italy, France… Not many have done so. [Jose] Mourinho? Guardiola? There aren’t many more.”

Srna player over 300 games in Ukraine before he moved to Cagliari in Serie A, but he was linked with Real Madrid in 2007.

“I wouldn’t have gone, I was the captain of Shakhtar,” Srna told the Spanish paper.

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