Explained: Why Roberto De Zerbi and Cristian Stellini had bizarre feud that led Brighton and Tottenham managers to get red cards

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De Zerbi Stellini
Both managers saw red after clashing in the second half as Tottenham beat Brighton 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday.
  • Spurs beat Brighton 2-1
  • Managers clashed before and during game
  • Both sent off in second half

WHAT HAPPENED? De Zerbi and Stellini engaged in a heated exchange before kick-off on the touchline and clashed again during the second half. The Brighton boss appeared riled at his counterpart and there was a coming together of both sets of coaching staff. Referee Stuart Attwell then opted to send both managers off.

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WHY DID THE PAIR CLASH?: The Brighton boss was asked about the incident and explained why he had been so riled up: "I'm used to always respecting everyone inside of the pitch and outside of the pitch and I don't like when the people don't respect me. I always respect everyone, especially the coaches. I can answer for me. Not for him. Yes [I feel he didn't respect me]. It was a personal situation and I told him my idea. Not bad words, just my idea."

Stellini did speak about De Zerbi before the game and said he found the Brighton boss "aggressive" when he was a player. The Spurs coach also said he did not think De Zerbi was as tactically "fluid" as former Brighton manager Graham Potter which may not have impressed the Seagulls boss. However, Stellini did go on to praise his counterpart and the job he has done on the south coast since replacing Potter.

WHAT STELLINI SAID AFTERWARDS: "It was an important game and we beat them in their stadium. Probably every one of us was full of anger and tension. But everything that happened on the pitch stays there and it does now," he told BBC Sport. "I don't like to be involved when there is a fight or something too aggressive. I'm quiet and focused on the game. I try to do my job. I don't like to show something bad."

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Roberto De Zerbi

Cristian Stellini

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Both managers can expect sanctions for their red cards, with De Zerbi facing a third touchline ban of the season. The Italian has already been suspended after being sent off against Fulham and subsequently picking up his fourth yellow card of the season against Crystal Palace.

WHAT'S NEXT: Both teams are back in Premier League action on Saturday. Tottenham host Bournemouth, while Brighton take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.