Brighton 'can't lose DNA' in Europa League - De Zerbi

Brighton take on 'European heavyweights' on UEL debut (1:28)

Mark Ogden speaks on how the Europa League draw panned out for Liverpool, Brighton and West Ham. (1:28)

Brighton & Hove Albion cannot make the mistake of overestimating themselves in their first-ever game in European competition, manager Roberto de Zerbi said on Wednesday.

Brighton, who finished sixth in the Premier League last season to secure qualification for the Europa League, face AEK Athens in their Group B opener on Thursday.

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"We cannot forget where we started and who we were. We can't lose our DNA. If we think that we are better then we are, then we make a big mistake," De Zerbi told reporters ahead of the home game against the Greek champions.

"If we want to become bigger than this competition, then we still have to compete at this level first.

"We have studied AEK a lot. They are a good team, very aggressive with and without the ball. It will be a very tough game."

Brighton face a difficult task in their bid to progress beyond the group stage, where they will also come up against former champions Ajax and three-time finalists Marseille.

"Our group is one of the stronger groups but for us it is better. If we want to win in this moment we have to compete against the best teams," De Zerbi said.

Brighton are fresh off the back of an impressive 3-1 Premier League win against Manchester United, but the Italian urged his side to wipe the result from their minds, adding: "The challenge of this year is to forget the game we play the day before and to focus only on the next game.

"To keep the result and the good emotion but to forget other things. The game in Manchester is finished. We have to think only about the next game."