Roberto De Zerbi says it would be a “big mistake” for Brighton to underestimate League Two side Grimsby Town in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final.
Town beat five clubs above them in the pyramid – Plymouth, Cambridge, Burton, Luton and Southampton – to earn a draw with the high-flying Seagulls.
However, De Zerbi admits that on paper his side have a huge opportunity to reach a Wembley semi-final.
“It will be a difficult match,” the Italian said in the pre-match press conference.
“But I want (the) players to give 100% chances.
“I want our fans to support our players because Sunday is a difficult match. We must not think: ‘We are Brighton in the Premier League and Grimsby are in the fourth tier’, because we would be making a big mistake.
“We have to play seriously because it’s a great opportunity for us to go to Wembley.”
Brighton will be without right-back Tariq Lamptey, who picked up a knee injury against West Ham two weeks ago.
“Tariq is not available, but the other players are good,” added De Zerbi. “I want to wait until tomorrow morning to decide the first XI. I want to choose the best team.”
Adam Lallana and Jakub Moder remain on the sidelines.
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Earlier this week, Brighton defender Levi Colwill said he would build on his derby win against Crystal Palace by reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.
Solly March’s first-half strike settled the South Coast grudge match to keep the Seagulls chasing Europe next season.
But they will put the race for the top four on the back burner this weekend when they face Sky Bet League Two club Grimsby in the cup’s last eight.
Colwill returned to the Brighton four after two months out on injury and helped them to a fifth win out of six at the Amex Stadium.
“I loved the atmosphere, the fans were fantastic and the stadium was booming at the end of it,” he told the club’s website. “It looked like they were a twelfth man out there.
“The last few minutes were tough with all the stoppage time, but the rewards are so great in the end.
“Everyone works really hard as a defensive unit to get clean sheets, so that was huge for us and a really important three points.
“We work hard so when we get the result it means a lot to us, it’s an achievement. It’s the best feeling in the world.
“We need to keep pushing and make sure we get three points in as many games as possible. We can do anything if we stick together and don’t look forward to the next game, which for us is Grimsby on Sunday, another important game for us.”
Shy Palace remain in 12th place despite an 11-game winless run that leaves them just three points above the relegation zone.
“We showed character and personality and at times played excellent football,” said manager Patrick Vieira.
“When you look at those aspects, it’s positive. But the most important thing is to score.”
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