Hughes looking to get one over on-fire United

Stoke's Jese Rodriguez celebrating his winner against Arsenal. The on-loan PSG forward will hope to make the same impact against Manchester United.
Stoke's Jese Rodriguez celebrating his winner against Arsenal. The on-loan PSG forward will hope to make the same impact against Manchester United.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester United have made the perfect start to the English Premier League season, but one of their most fondly remembered former strikers is plotting their downfall.

Jose Mourinho's side have begun the campaign with three wins from three matches, without conceding a goal, and start the weekend on top of the table as they prepare to visit Stoke City today. But they have not won at Stoke since United old boy Mark Hughes became their manager in 2013, and midfielder Ander Herrera knows his side are in for a difficult afternoon.

"We've had four seasons without winning there," said the Spaniard. "It's been a good way to start the season but we cannot relax.

"We are ready. No excuses - let's try to win there. We are Manchester United, so we are not scared."

Mourinho also expects a tough test. "Stoke are difficult, they are aggressive, they defend with a lot of people and they are dangerous at set-pieces," he said.

"It's a stadium that puts a lot of pressure too. So, I think it's going to be difficult again."

The Portuguese hinted that United - the only remaining team with a 100 per cent record in the Premier League - would even resort to winning ugly despite their swashbuckling start to the season.

Asked at his press conference yesterday if he feels under pressure to win in style, Mourinho said: "We try to play the best we can.

"You see the last winners of the Premier League (Chelsea), they didn't play attacking football. They all played defensive football and counter-attacking football so that according to the results is the best way to win the Premier League."

Stoke are targeting another prized scalp at home after beating Arsenal 1-0 last month.

But they will be without captain Ryan Shawcross (back injury) while close-season signing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is working hard to be fit after returning from international duty with Cameroon, nursing a slight hamstring injury.

"We have shown we can beat a top-six team already and hopefully, we will get the same sort of result tomorrow," said Hughes.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Hughes looking to get one over on-fire United'. Print Edition | Subscribe