Brighton boss lauds ‘incredible’ Evan Ferguson rise as striker fires club to brink of the Europa League

Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

Brighton & Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi has heaped praise on Ireland forward Evan Ferguson after the Seagulls confirmed their place in European football next season.

Former Bohemians and St Kevin’s youth Ferguson scored twice for Brighton in their 3-1 win over Southampton on Sunday.

And that win all but seals their place in the Europa League – with Europa Conference League qualification already secured.

Brighton are three points clear of Aston Villa with two games left to play – but they have a far superior goal difference compared to Unai Emery’s side who have just one left to play.

One more point would seal qualification for the second tier of European competition.

And that Europa League berth has been all but secured thanks to Ferguson’s brace against a Gavin Bazunu-less Southampton on Sunday.

The Meath teenager cracked home a low effort to open the scoring for the Seagulls after being played in on goal by Alexis Mac Allister.

And he then doubled their advantage after he finished off a fine attacking move created by Kaoru Mitoma with a cool finish.

“Ferguson’s improvement has been incredible,” De Zerbi said.

“He’s playing like an old player but he is only 18. There is a good dressing room with the mentality to help all our younger players.”

Ferguson has now scored 6 goals in his Premier League breakthrough season.

“He (De Zerbi) just gives you confidence with the way we play,” Ferguson added. “You know what you're doing in the system, you know what your job is.

“It doesn't matter what young you are, you have to put a shift in.

“The attitude we have is it doesn't matter what age you are if you can play, you can play.”