Brighton’s Mitoma out for rest of season with injury – De Zerbi

Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma will likely miss the remainder of the season with a back injury, manager Roberto De Zerbi said on Tuesday.

“I think we have lost Mitoma until the end of the season,” De Zerbi told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round game at Wolves. “It’s an important problem. I think two or three months, finished the season.”

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Mitoma played a starring role last season as Brighton qualified for European football for the first time, although he has scored just three goals in 19 appearances this term.

The 26-year-old was sidelined with an ankle injury in December but was still called up to the Japan squad for the Asian Cup, which concluded earlier this month. Japan were knocked out by Iran in the quarterfinals.

Mitoma’s injury only adds to Brighton’s injury crisis, with the club missing nine players for the Wolves clash.

“[Evan] Ferguson tomorrow, he can’t play [due to an ankle injury]. [Danny] Welbeck has a problem and we have to make a check,” De Zerbi said.

“[Joel] Veltman as well can’t play and the other players injured can’t play.”

Brighton, seventh in the Premier League standings after picking up 39 points from 26 matches, visit 12th-placed Fulham in the top flight on Saturday, followed by a trip to Roma for their Europa League round-of-16 first leg on March 7.