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Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed the notion that Brighton areWest Ham‘s bogey side.
The Hammers head to the south coast on Saturday having picked up just one point from their four meetings with Brighton since they were promoted.
Seagulls striker Glenn Murray has scored four goals in four appearances against West Ham, including the winner at the Amex last October.
The Hammers are desperate for a positive result having been thumped 5-0 by Manchester City last weekend, while Brighton began the season under new manager Graham Potter by beating Watford 3-0.
But Pellegrini shrugged off their poor record against Albion, insisting: “It’s just a statistic. Every game in football is different.
“Brighton started very well, with a clear style of play under their new manager. Playing in their stadium is always difficult so we must be very focused and play with a high pace and intensity.”
After another summer of investment, including the purchase of £45million record signing Sebastien Haller, Pellegrini’s side are fancied to challenge for a European spot this season.
The former Manchester City and Real Madrid boss, who guided West Ham to 10th last term, added: “We must try to win the next game that we play. One defeat will not change our mind.
“We have built a good squad, the same as all the other teams, and we must try to play better in every game, especially defending better.
“But we are just starting the season, it is just one game and we don’t think about the end yet.
“It was not easy in the first year, we signed many players but we finished the season the way we wanted.
“Now this season we are going to improve on what we did last season. We are not saying we are going to be in a European spot, we are just going to improve.”
Pellegrini will hand late fitness checks to French striker Haller and Brazilian playmaker Felipe Anderson, who picked up knocks against City.