Manchester United needs greater focus to see out games following back-to-back Premier League draws in which it failed to hold onto a lead, interim manager Ralf Rangnick said on Monday.

United were 1-0 up against Southampton on Saturday but could only manage a 1-1 draw, the same result they got at bottom club Burnley four days before.

"The situation is pretty clear, in 11 of 13 games we score the first goal, 1-0 up and we didn't win all of them," said Rangnick ahead of Tuesday's home league clash against Brighton & Hove Albion.

"I think it's pretty obvious the players are getting ideas across the pitch... the first halves have been really good, we didn't concede a single goal, the next step is to raise our level and stay focused, physically, mentally, tactically."

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The German added that a fourth-place finish was the target for United, who are fifth on 40 points, one behind West Ham United with a game in hand.

"I think this is the highest possible achievement we can get... the Champions League, hopefully to proceed into the next round of the Champions League, is not an easy one," Rangnick said.

"In the league, it's number four, that's our ambition."

Brighton manager Graham Potter lavished praise on his opposite number.

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"I have huge respect for Ralf Rangnick. He's an experienced football person and I'm an admirer from afar," Potter told reporters.

"Regardless of the narrative around United, you only need to look at the players they have and Old Trafford. The crowd is so powerful there."

Brighton, unbeaten in its last five league games, is enjoying a fine season under Potter, sitting ninth in the table with 33 points.