Manchester United remain the same winning force that they were under Sir Alex Ferguson, Chris Hughton has claimed ahead of Brighton’s clash against Jose Mourinho’s side.
Brighton host United at the Amex Stadium on Friday night in a fixture that could secure their Premier League status for another season.
United have not won the league since Ferguson retired in 2013, and are set to finish a distant second to runaway champions Manchester City this term.
But after going up against Ferguson during his time at Newcastle and Norwich, Hughton insists Friday’s opponents are still a daunting proposition.
“I don’t think it is that different under Jose because Manchester United are still winning things,” said Hughton.
“If you are looking at Alex Ferguson’s best times at United, they went through a good few years where they were competing and winning the league, so in that case there has been a few changes.
“But when you play against this Manchester United team they still have the same quality that Manchester United teams have always had, and they still have that same aura.”
The United boss has been criticised for his, at times, negative tactics, but Hughton insists the Portuguese has a “winning mentality” and can adapt his playing style when required.
Mourinho has overseen United’s progress to the FA Cup final where he will be expected to add to his huge collection of trophies both in England and abroad.
“He can’t win what he has won without being tactically astute,” Hughton added. “The way he sets his team up proves he wants to win and his record shows that.
“He will adapt a style to a performance, so he is very flexible in the way that he wants to play, but he has a winning mentality.”
Brighton’s final home game of the season comes against United before trips to Manchester City and Liverpool, and Hughton said: “We know that the bottom two can’t catch us and that it is very much in our hands.
“The fact it is in our own hands is a plus, but we know it is going to be a difficult game to win.”