Manchester United cannot afford any more slip-ups if they want to resurrect their Premier League title chase according to Stoke City manager Mark Hughes, who believes that his former club are just one loss away from losing their bid for the crown for good.
While Hughes, who takes his Stoke City side to Old Trafford looking to take more points away from United, gave his support to David Moyes, claiming any successor to Sir Alex Ferguson would go through a difficult patch, he has - perhaps inadvertently - piled on more pressure onto Moyes by labeling the reigning champions as 'vulnerable'.
'There are only a certain amount of games you can lose; five or six enables you to still be in the title race,' he is quoted to have said by Daily Mail.
United have already suffered defeat to Liverpool, Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion, while also dropping points to Chelsea and Southampton leaving them eighth in the league table after 11 points tallied after eight games.
'Lose any more than six then you make it very difficult for yourself, nigh on impossible,' added Hughes. 'They have lost three at the moment. They can't afford any more slip-ups. Maybe they are a little bit vulnerable at the moment. Invariably when people question Manchester United they come back with the answers.
'Moyes is stepping into the shoes of a great footballing man. It was always going to be difficult. There will always be difficult periods in a season even if you are manager of Manchester United, who more often than not win football matches.'
What may bode well for United is that they have, in their past five matches against Stoke at home, always gotten on the score-sheet, while Robin van Persie is at his prolific best when faced with a Potters defence.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald