Stoke manager Mark Hughes is uncertain whether some Manchester United‘s players are mentally fit to lift the club out of their current crisis.
Man United have lost their last three in all competitions and are without a win since beating Watford 2-1 in the Premier League on November 21, a run stretching to six matches.
They have travel to the Britannia Stadium on today for a clash against Hughes’ Potters, it will be live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 12.30pm.
Louis van Gaal‘s position as United manager has also come under intense scrutiny following the club’s elimination from the Champions League and last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Norwich City at Old Trafford, which saw them slip out of the Premier League’s top four.
Former United forward Hughes, who won 11 major honours during his two spells with the club, said: “I don’t know what it’s like there now. I’ve not been in that tunnel with them.
“But there was always an expectation that we were going to win. We didn’t hope to win. We expected to win, no matter who we went up against.
“I don’t know if that’s their mentality at the moment. I suspect most of them have that. But if you’re new to the club and you’re trying to find your feet, and there’s a period of transition for you as a player, and there’s a new group at a big club, then maybe some of them haven’t quite got it.”
Hughes also claimed some of United’s players may be struggling with the expectations placed on them.
He added: “There have been many players who signed for Manchester United, and just couldn’t deal with the expectation.
“It’s a big demand. You want to go there, be successful and make an impact.
“Sometimes, if you don’t do it initially, then it becomes more difficult the longer it goes on. It’s not easy.”
Stoke host United looking to condemn their visitors to their fourth successive defeat.
Despite questioning the mental strength of the playing squad, Hughes has backed Van Gaal to lift United from their state of ‘flux’.
“Louis van Gaal is a very experienced manager,” Hughes said. “He’s been in those situations before. He’s self-assured and self-confident so I don’t think it fazes him too much.
“You look at the clubs he’s been at – Barcelona, Bayern Munich, top clubs across Europe and he’s ended up at Manchester United as a consequence of the success he’s had.
“He knows what he needs to do but he’s in that period of transition that needs navigating to get through to the other side. A bit of flux maybe.”