Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United’s players are approaching the clash against Brighton with “bright eyes” given their admiration for a side that can make life difficult this weekend.
Three weeks on from narrowly beating high-flying West Ham 1-0, the second-placed Red Devils finally return to Premier League action this Sunday when the Seagulls arrive at Old Trafford.
Brighton are six points clear of the relegation zone after thrashing struggling Newcastle 3-0 before the international break, when Graham Potter’s side finally got the kind of result their positive play has deserved.
Solskjaer says those performances have caught the eye at United, who needed a contentious Bruno Fernandes penalty that was taken after the final whistle to seal a 3-2 win at the Amex in September.
“Since I came we’ve played them quite a few times and we’ve always had some hard-fought games, difficult games,” Solskjaer said.
“When you prepare for a game against Brighton you can see all our players with bright eyes because they really respect the way they play and the quality that they’ve had against us.
“We know that we have to be on our best to earn the right to play because you have to work really hard to get the ball off them.”
David De Gea started the Premier League win in East Sussex, with Dean Henderson getting the nod for the 3-0 Carabao Cup win at the Amex just days later.
The latter has started United’s last six matches in all competitions after the Spain international returned to his homeland for the birth of his first child, with Solskjaer facing a “difficult decision” as to who to start on Sunday.
“The two keepers will probably be needed in these last nine plus hopefully five more games,” Solskjaer said. “Both know that we value them both really highly.
“It’s a difficult decision to leave one of them out. It’s an easy decision to give them the nod and ‘you’ll play’.
“The difficult one is to leave one of them out but it’s a good decision to make, so you’ll probably see both of them.”
Solskjaer currently has doubts over three forwards heading into Sunday’s match.
Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood returned to training on Friday but need assessing after Saturday’s session, while a reported knee injury picked up on international duty with France means Anthony Martial is a doubt.
Victor Lindelof also needs assessing to see if he can form part of a defence that will almost certainly include Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The 23-year-old right-back has played in all but two of United’s Premier League matches this season and Solskjaer believes the summer 2019 signing from Crystal Palace is making impressive strides.
“I think he’s done remarkably well and his improvement has been there for everyone to see,” the United boss added.
“He’s still defensively as solid, one against one he’s still great, but what I like is that he contributes more and more going forward as well, creating chances, joining in, but it’s still very early in his full-back career.
“I still think we’ll see a lot of improvement from Aaron.
“You do see it in training and on the pitch as well, I think that’s for everyone to see.”
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