Danny Welbeck and Brighton took the same path to get to this Europa League season, and the English striker’s longer journey to a European return should be a boon for the Seagulls… and he knows that’s a responsibility, too.
Welbeck, 32, may well lead the line for Brighton when it plays its first UEL match later this year, but he’ll be coming with 24 Champions League and 17 Europa League appearances under his belt.
“There are some experienced boys in the dressing room and those who’ve played in Europe, it’s on us to pass on advice to the younger players with the mentality going into training, how we prepare for games, and the traveling is going to be new for quite a lot of the players,” Welbeck told ProSoccerTalk ahead of the club’s Premier League Summer Series debut, speaking as part of a July 28 promotion for The Amex 1901 Pub in NYC, aimed at giving fans “a taste of the English matchday pub experience.”
[ WATCH LIVE: Premier League Summer Series on Peacock ]
“We can pass on that advice and how better to manage that, but we’ve got a great mentality in the dressing room and everyone is going in the right direction. We’re going to need the whole squad to be ready and called upon.”
Welbeck’s words became part of a chorus by the time Brighton arrived Stateside and ProSoccerTalk spoke with Adam Lallana and Deniz Undav following the Seagulls’ 4-3 loss to Chelsea on Saturday in the Premier League Summer Series.
The pair told us that Brighton has lofty goals for its European adventure as well as strong resolve to balance ambition for the UEL with consistency in the Premier League.
“There are definitely great signs there,” said Lallana, another player with plenty of European experience from his time with Liverpool. “There’s no thought that the bubble’s burst or finished. We want to set new targets. Win in Europe, not just turn up and be in Europe. We want to win the Europa League, that’s our target, and sustain a good position in the Premier League, too. That’s what we’ve been speaking about, and to understand it.”
Undav, who scored versus Chelsea, sounded the same note.
“For sure,” said the 27-year-old German forward. “We have a good team. We lost one important player in Alexis [Mac Allister]. We got really good few players back. We’ll see what happens. Europa League is one more competition but I’m confident enough that we can do a similar season to last year.”
And Undav stressed that while the club could have to deal with the move of Moises Caicedo in addition to Mac Allister, it’s confident in its coach, system, and players.
“We know it’s a business but if he stays it will help us a lot,” Undav said. “If he’s going we have good players to replace him. He’s a top player, defensively one of the best in the league. … I’m just joking with him, trying to make him and everybody laugh. Every day is the same. Moises is a good guy. We don’t see any reaction that he’s mad. He’s training, giving his best and it should be like this.”
Brighton beat Brentford 2-0 on Wednesday in its second Summer Series match and closes out the tournament with a skirmish with fellow upstart Newcastle at 7:30pm ET Friday (Watch live online via Peacock Premium).
“We don’t want to just get to Europe and that’s it,” Welbeck said. “We want to challenge in every competition we’re going to be involved in, Premier League, Europa League, Carabao Cup, and FA Cup.
“Since I came to Brighton, every single year there’s been a progression. Last year was no different. Qualifying for a Europa League was a huge, huge success for the club, for Brighton in general as a place. The manager when he came in, it wasn’t so easy to transition but the way that we’re playing football is beautiful to watch and beautiful to be a part of. There’s a lot of potential and much more to come, progression, attractive football and to win also.”