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Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui believes Brighton are one of the best teams in the world.

The 56-year-old takes his side to the Amex on Saturday with the Seagulls still pushing for a surprise European spot.

Roberto De Zerbi replaced Graham Potter in September and has them eighth, five points behind fifth-placed Aston Villa with three games in hand.

Brighton lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday but, despite defeat, Lopetegui is an admirer.

“In my opinion, the best team now playing football in the world is Brighton,” he said.

“They play in a different way than the rest of the teams – they are very good.

“They are different, they attack in a different way, they are able to play with consistency with the ball, have different solutions in different parts of the pitch.

“They show they are enjoying to play in this way – all the players – so it’s about the fantastic work of De Zerbi and the fantastic players playing football.

“This is a big challenge for us but a chance. We have to go there with the aim and the spirit to be able to fight and compete with them.”

Sasa Kalajdzic (knee) remains out and Boubacar Traore (groin) is lacking match fitness with Lopetegui due to continue with the same squad from Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

It meant the former Spain boss has guided Wolves eight points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with five games left.

Lopetegui added: “We are going to need a lot of points, this is sure. We have a lot of hard work and we have to be ready to compete and ready to compete against a very good team.

“I don’t agree with mathematics of football (assuming a certain amount of points for survival), it’s the worse thing you can do. You have to work a lot to achieve a lot.

“To think in the future is not for us. We have to think about the next training session and put the focus on the pitch.

“It’s about the needs we have to achieve our aim. We have suffered a lot and we will continue to suffer until the end.”