The former United manager also told the Newcastle Chronicle that the Magpies have a better chance of staying in the Premier League than his current club.
"They are a big club with wonderful fans who turn up to the tune of 50,000 every home game," Hughton said.
"They deserve success and they are in safe hands under Rafa. United will be OK. We're a much smaller club and the expectation levels among our supporters is much lower.
"United have a lot of good players, a sound defence, Jonjo Shelvey, who inevitably looks to play the ball forward at the earliest opportunity, and Matt Ritchie who is a great provider. They also have significant back up, a deeper squad than us. I gave Jacob Murphy his first-team debut when I was manager of Norwich and he has genuine potential."
Speaking about his time at the helm, Hughton added: "I'm a better manager because of my time there. Kevin Keegan appointed me first-team coach on February of 2008 and I grew to love the place. We had a terrific run to the Championship title and Geordies never let me forget beating Sunderland 5-1 whenever I meet them."
Newcastle currently sit ninth in the Premier League after seven games, while Brighton are 14th.