Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Romelu Lukaku is a "big part" of his squad, despite the Belgian striker finding himself on the bench at Old Trafford. "You start with the work rate because that's what he's got - he works like no one else".
Solskjaer - who suggested that match-winner Marcus Rashford is a challenger for the title of best current Premier League striker - said the top four was a genuine target for United, though third is surely still a firm aspiration.
"No-one beats him on work-rate". During this spell, the 20 time league champions have scored 17 goals and conceded just 3.
Chris Hughton's south coast side are seven points clear of the relegation zone, and face Fulham, Watford and Burnley in their next three league fixtures, following next weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie against West Brom.
However, despite going 2-0 up before half-time, with Rashford's goal following a Paul Pogba penalty, United endured a nervous finish after Pascal Gross scored for Brighton with 19 minutes left.
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"You see some of the young players he has brought through at Tottenham, at Southampton that have gone on to play for the national team, so I think he ticks every box in terms of his quality as a coach, but also his willingness to give youth a chance".
"It was backs to the wall when they scored but we still created chances and we are delighted with that win".
'The gaffer used to challenge us at times with: "Why can't you win 10 games on the bounce?"' said Solskjaer, who has been tapping into Ferguson's knowledge. We have had some tough years at the club but it's a challenge for us to get to where we as a club should be'.
Solskjaer, who is Manchester United's record goalscorer as a substitute, added that Lukaku is now in a similar position to he was during his time at Old Trafford, where he often sat behind Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham in the pecking order.
"What I like the most is to get into their heads and find out what they are thinking". I thought we played some great stuff at times. "Whenever you win games of football, you enjoy it".