Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Manchester United ready for another 'hard-fought' game against Brighton

There may be 14 places between the two sides in the Premier League table, but the reverse fixture in September was only decided by a contentious penalty

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said his players are prepared for a tough game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday as Manchester United aim to take another big step toward securing a place in the Premier League's top four.

Three weeks on from narrowly beating West Ham 1-0, second-placed United finally return to league action following the international break when they host Brighton at Old Trafford.

Brighton are six points clear of the relegation zone after thrashing struggling Newcastle 3-0 before the break, when Graham Potter’s side finally got the kind of result their positive play has deserved.

Those performances have not gone unnoticed by Solskjaer and United, who needed a contentious Bruno Fernandes penalty, which was taken after the final whistle, to seal a 3-2 win in the reverse fixture in September.

“Since I came we’ve played them quite a few times and we’ve always had some hard-fought games, difficult games,” the United manager 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 at Brighton, with Dean Henderson getting the nod for the 3-0 League Cup win against the same opponents just days later.

Henderson 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 which goalkeeper 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 the 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.