Hughes out to snap Man United streak

Mour­inho’s side in con­fi­dent mood, hope to claim first away vic­tory at Stoke since 2013

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

>> STOKE-ON-TRENT: Manch­ester United have made the per­fect start to the 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 top of the ta­ble as they pre­pare to visit Stoke City to­day.

But they have not won at the bet365 Sta­dium since United old boy Mark Hughes be­came Stoke’s man­ager in 2013 and mid­fielder An­der Her­rera knows his side are in for a dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon.

“The Premier League is very long and ev­ery team can beat you,” Her­rera said.

“Now we have to face Stoke and we’ve had four sea­sons with­out win­ning there. It’s been a good way to start the sea­son, but we can­not re­lax.

“We are ready to face them and, hope­fully, the weather is not so bad there be­cause, when it is bad, it is very dif­fi­cult to play.

“We are ready. No ex­cuses — let’s try to win there. We are Manch­ester United, so we are not scared.”

United ap­pear to be in the mood to se­cure a first away vic­tory over Stoke since April 2013.

Romelu Lukaku ex­pe­ri­enced the first set­back of his United ca­reer when he saw a penalty saved dur­ing their last league match, a 2-0 vic­tory over Le­ices­ter City.

But he shrugged off the dis­ap­point­ment dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional break, scor­ing four times in two matches for Bel­gium as they se­cured qual­i­fi­ca­tion for next year’s World Cup in Rus­sia.

Mar­cus Rash­ford, a scor­ing sub­sti­tute against Le­ices­ter, has made a strong claim to re­turn to the start­ing line-up af­ter his fine win­ner against Slo­vakia moved Eng­land closer to a World Cup place of their own.

Rash­ford’s form puts ex­tra pres­sure on Anthony Mar­tial, who was over­looked by France coach Di­dier Deschamps for the fourth in­ter­na­tional get-to­gether in suc­ces­sion.

The in­ter­na­tional break also gave left-back Luke Shaw and winger Ash­ley Young the chance to build up fit­ness as they get closer to re­turn­ing from in­juries suf­fered late last sea­son.

Shaw has re­cov­ered from an an­kle in­jury, Young a ham­string prob­lem, and both may be in­cluded in the squad to face Stoke.

Stoke are tar­get­ing a sec­ond prized scalp of the sea­son at home af­ter they de­feated Ar­se­nal 1-0 last month.

Close-sea­son sign­ing Eric Maxim Choupo-Mot­ing is work­ing hard to be fit to face United af­ter re­turn­ing from in­ter­na­tional duty with Cameroon nurs­ing a slight ham­string in­jury.

He started the last two games, the vic­tory over Ar­se­nal and a draw at West Bromwich Al­bion, and ad­mits his ex­pe­ri­ence of English foot­ball has been mixed so far.

“I’ve had two dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences al­ready, t wo com­pletely dif­fer­ent games,” said the former Schalke for­ward.

“Maybe the West Brom team weren’t in­di­vid­u­ally as strong as Ar­se­nal, but phys­i­cally they were very strong and it was maybe even a more in­tense game with a lot of strong du­els.

“Now it’s a big game against Manch­ester United and an­other test.”

He added: “There is a lot more to come. That’s my goal. I think I can do much bet­ter. It’s still the be­gin­ning and I will try to do my best.

“Eng­land is cool. The area where we live is a nice area and the peo­ple are very friendly.

“Our start has not been bad. Af­ter the first loss at Ever­ton we’ve got four points, so that’s some­thing to build on.”

Manch­ester United for­wards Mar­cus Rash­ford, left, and Romelu Lukaku.

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