Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi believes Chelsea’s players must take some responsibility for the sacking of Graham Potter and feels too much focus is placed on the influence of managers.
Potter left Albion to take over at Stamford Bridge on a five-year contract in September but was sacked on Sunday following seven wins from 22 Premier League games.
Italian De Zerbi filled the vacancy at the Amex Stadium and has the high-flying Seagulls challenging for Europe going into the final quarter of the campaign.
Potter’s dismissal came just hours after Brendan Rodgers left Leicester and took the number of top-flight managerial departures this term to 13.
“I’m really sorry,” said De Zerbi. “It’s bad news for the coaches because I think you give too much importance to the coaches because the players are always most important.
“I don’t like when the coaches are sacked because the responsibility is not only of the coaches – (it is also) the players, the club.
“In Italy we are used to changing a lot of coaches every season. In the Premier League it’s different but I think it’s changing also in the Premier League.
“I think the coaches are not so important like the people think – when you win and when you lose.
“The coaches can give the players mentality, ideas, a style of play, but if you speak about results you can achieve the results with the quality of the players and not only the quality of the coaches.”
Potter guided Brighton to the highest finish in the club’s history last term – ninth place – and extended the fine form into the current campaign, leading to him being poached by Chelsea.
De Zerbi thanked his predecessor for his work on the south coast but said it was hard to comment on why he struggled for results in west London.
“It’s difficult when you don’t know the situation in another dressing room, in another team,” he said.
“I don’t like speaking about the other teams and the other coaches. But I’m sorry because when there are these situations, they are sad situations.
“I have a big confidence in myself for sure but I think I am lucky to have these players and I have to say thanks to Graham Potter because I found a team with a very good mentality, very good attitude.”
Brighton sit sixth in the table ahead of Tuesday evening’s trip along the south coast to take on relegation-threatened Bournemouth.
De Zerbi, who will have striker Evan Ferguson back from injury at the Vitality Stadium, wants to get Albion’s quest for continental qualification back on track following the frustration of Saturday’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Brentford.
“It’s another crucial game,” he said. “We lost two points against Brentford and we are playing very well.
“But if we want to reach our target, we have to improve in some details.”
Asked about the team’s objective, De Zerbi said: “To play next year in Europe.
“Which Europe, we don’t know, we will see. We want to play in the middle of the week next year – three games per week.”