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Stoke boss Mark Hughes expects former club Man Utd to come good

Published 24/12/2015

Former Manchester United striker Mark Hughes will hope his Stoke side can inflict more misery on his old club
Former Manchester United striker Mark Hughes will hope his Stoke side can inflict more misery on his old club

Mark Hughes believes it is only a matter of time before his former club Manchester United click into gear.

The Stoke boss is just hoping it does not happen as they take on his current club at the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day.

United have faced some heavy criticism, and their manager Louis van Gaal is under considerable pressure, after a poor run of results and longer spell of uninspiring performances.

United lost their last three games in all competitions, have not won in six and were booed off after losing to Norwich last weekend. They have crashed out of the Champions League and slipped to fifth in the Barclays Premier League.

Hughes said: "I think there is a little bit of noise surrounding the club and a little bit of debate about how they are playing, and which way the club is going.

"From the games I have seen, they are dominating games for the most part. Their game seems a lot more possession-based than it has been in the past. They have had a lot of possession and created a lot of chances - a bit like ourselves.

"We haven't scored a great many goals in recent weeks but we have still been creating chances. It is just about converting them. I think that is the case with United to a certain extent.

"They have got good players, they have got a good squad. They have got good individual talent. You would expect at some point they would start to click again. Hopefully we won't allow that at the weekend."

Hughes' Stoke side have earned plenty of plaudits for their progress this season but, underlining the differing levels of expectations at the two clubs, they are still five points behind United.

But Hughes is well aware of the demands placed on players at United, having scored 163 goals for the club in 467 appearances in two spells.

He made his United debut in 1983 and remembers well their struggles before Sir Alex Ferguson led them into an era of unprecedented success lasting more than two decades.

The 52-year-old said: "The team I played in early on was probably the last one that was booed, when I first broke in. But there will be times when that happens. It's about performance. That's what happens here as well. Nobody backs away from that.

"But more often than not if you've got a strong group of players and leaders within that group they can get themselves together, shake themselves out of it and do something about it.

"That's what all Man United teams in the past have done, and I would fully expect them to do it again this year."

Stoke have suffered their own little blip having won just one of their last four in the Premier League.

But Hughes said: "Just picking the last four games is a bit unfair. We have done okay. This weekend we are looking for more of the same in terms of what we have been able to produce against the bigger teams."

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