Football News

Darijo Srna: Roberto De Zerbi is tactically at the same level as Pep Guardiola

By Ben Green

Published: 17:01, 19 October 2021 | Updated: 22:16, 28 November 2022

Shakhtar Donetsk sporting director Darijo Srna believes the club’s current manager, Roberto De Zerbi, is tactically on a par with Pep Guardiola.

De Zerbi, 42, joined the Ukrainian club in the summer following three highly-succesful years at Sassuolo, during which time his side were praised for their exciting brand of football and achieved successive eighth-placed finishes in the Italian top flight.

Shakhtar meanwhile were on the hunt for a new head coach following Luis Castro’s departure, with Hirnyky failing to win a single domestic trophy for the first time in 14 years, as well as crashing out of the Champions League group stages, and the Europa League Round of 16.


Since stepping into the hotseat, De Zerbi has already lifted the Ukrainian Super Cup at the expense of Dynamo Kyiv, becoming the first Italian to win the trophy, while his side are second in the league table and recently took a point off Inter Milan in the Champions League.

Following his strong start as Shakhtar manager, club legend and now sporting director Srna has waxed lyrical about the summer appointment, believing the Italian coach is tactically in the same league as Manchester City manager Guardiola.

“We met in Italy,” Srna told AS. “He was our first, second and third choice.

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“He plays incredible football, his style is like tiki-taka and he’s got Brazilian players to do it.

“Guardiola has managed the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, but De Zerbi is within our reach, and the ideas are the same.

“He’s young, he’s hungry, he is very ambitious. He had many offers but he chose us.

“De Zerbi is at the level of Guardiola in his style and the ideas of the game.”