'I like them' - Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag sends classy message to Brighton ahead of Premier League opener

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has lauded Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of this weekend’s opening round of Premier League fixtures.

The 52-year-old will lead the Reds out for the first time in a competitive fixture when the Seagulls visit Old Trafford this Sunday.

The Dutch manager, who lead Ajax to three Eredivisie titles in four years before moving to Manchester this summer, was full of praise for Graham Potter’s side, who inflicted a chastening 4-0 defeat on ten Hag’s predecessor Ralf Rangnick in May.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, ten Hag said: "It is exciting, as is every season. But when you arrive with a new team, it is tough.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has lauded Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of this weekend’s opening round of Premier League fixtures. Picture by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

"But we are really looking forward to Sunday. They [Brighton] are a good team, a decent team and play attractive football. I like them."

The last meeting between the two clubs saw the rampant Seagulls tear through a beleaguered United side devoid of confidence and belief.

Moisés Caicedo, Marc Cucurella – who has since moved to Chelsea – Pascal Groß and Leandro Trossard were on the scoresheet at the Amex as Brighton ruthlessly put an end to the Red Devils’ dreams of qualifying for the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League.

But ten Hag admitted he was paying no heed to United’s past encounters with Brighton, preferring to focus on the here and now.

He added: "Last season is last season. I'm not looking back, I'm looking forward and we prepare the team for Sunday. So for the future and that's it."