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Kaoru Mitoma: Brighton winger set to miss the rest of the season with back injury

Kaoru Mitoma will miss the rest of the season after picking up a back injury earlier this month; the winger has played just twice since Christmas and last featured in the 5-0 win over Sheff Utd on February 18; it is a "bad, bad situation" says Roberto de Zerbi

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Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi has confirmed that winger Kaoru Mitoma will be out for the rest of the Premier League season.

Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma is set to miss the rest of the season with a back injury, says manager Roberto De Zerbi.

The Japan winger missed Saturday's 1-1 draw with Everton with a back injury and De Zerbi has now confirmed Mitoma will now be ruled out for two to three months.

"A bad, bad situation. I think we've lost Mitoma until the end of the season," he said in a pre-match press conference ahead of Brighton's FA Cup fifth round tie with Wolves.

"He has a back injury, it is an important problem. I think he will be out for two or three months and two or three months finishes the season."

With & without Mitoma

Mitoma had been out with an ankle injury - and was also on Asia Cup duty - from December 28 and only returned Seagulls action on February 10 for the 2-1 loss at Tottenham.

The following week, he played 76 minutes in Sheffield United's 5-0 win over Brighton and was the subject of a horrendous challenge by Mason Holgate, who was sent off.

That match at Bramall Lane now appears to be Mitoma's last match of the season - but De Zerbi confirmed last week that the back problem did not emanate from that challenge.

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"No no no, Mitoma suffered something with his back before the Sheffield game," said De Zerbi. "The player of Sheffield [Holgate] has no responsibility for the injury of Kaoru."

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Dermot Gallagher dissects Mason Holgate's tackle on Kaoru Mitoma and believes VAR worked quickly and efficiently to get to the correct decision of a red card.

Brighton are currently in seventh place in the Premier League as they look to secure European football for next season.

De Zerbi's side are also in the last 16 of the Europa League, where they will play Roma next month, while they take on Wolves in the FA Cup last 16 on Wednesday night.

The Seagulls boss also confirmed Evan Ferguson will miss the match at Molineux, with Danny Welbeck and Joel Veltman also doubts.

"Ferguson, he can't play [on Wednesday]," said De Zerbi. "Welbeck, he has a problem and we have to check it tomorrow morning. Veltman as well. The other injured players can't play."

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