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Roberto de Zerbi: Mark O'Mahony named a sub against Brentford due to Ansu Fati's 'physical condition'

Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi opted to name Carrigaline's Mark O'Mahony on the bench for Wednesday night’s clash with Brentford ahead of Barcelona loanee Ansu Fati due to concerns over the latter’s "physical condition".

It was a case of 'you’re not the one for me, Fati' for De Zerbi, who may or may not be a Morrissey fan, as the Seagulls and the Bees played out a scoreless draw in the Premier League in west London.

"Fati and Valentin Barco, I didn’t decide to play with them in the squad for this game," said De Zerbi.

"I wanted them to work alone to improve their physical condition."

Fati has scored just four goals since his surprise move from the Nou Camp and none since returning from three months out with a hamstring injury in February.

"Fati is working very well but from him I have different expectations," added De Zerbi.

"I haven’t changed my opinion about Ansu Fati. He is one of the best talents in the world for his age.

"[He needs] to improve his performances, to improve his physical condition, to improve his mentality because to play in the Premier League you have to be stronger in mentality, stronger physically.

"When he shows us the right condition, he will be ready to play for us and I will be happy."

O'Mahony wasn’t sprung from the bench at the Gtech Community Stadium and has yet to make his senior debut for the club, but the forward is knocking on the door for game time after progressing well since his move from Cork City at the beginning of 2023.

The 19-year-old is part of significant Irish contingent at Brighton, including defender Leigh Kavanagh, midfielder Andrew Moran (on-loan at Blackburn) and fellow forward Evan Ferguson, who failed to figure in the squad on Wednesday due to a slight ankle knock.

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