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Manchester United must match Stoke’s attitude says Ander Herrera

Manchester United face a tough test at the bet365 stadium on Saturday evening, a stadium notorious for its upsets. Arsenal just recently lost there, which has since piled huge pressure upon Arsene Wenger.

Confidence will be high amongst that United dressing room. Three wins from three, no goals conceded, United have started in tremendous fashion. However, they will be aware of the threat that Mark Hughes’ side proposes. United scraped a 1-1 draw in this fixture last season thanks to a Wayne Rooney injury time free kick. Unfortunately, he won’t be there to save the day this time.

Stoke are traditionally a strong, physical side with a few flair players who can ping the ball around. Ironically United have a physical presence about them this season – Lukaku, Pogba, Matic, Jones, Bailly are all six-foot plus.

United midfielder Ander Herrera has stressed the importance of United matching Stoke’s attitude, and being prepared for the hostile atmosphere that will be awaiting the Red Devil’s when they arrive in Stoke on Saturday evening. Herrera spoke to MUTV, and the official Manchester United website has reported what he had to say:

“The Premier League is very long and every team can beat you. Now we have to face Stoke, and we’ve had four seasons without winning there. It’s been a good way to start [the campaign] 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. 

“Always, against Manchester United, every team or every fan of the opponent are waiting for us. It’s a big day for us. We have to be equal to their attitude and then we have to show our quality. The first thing is the attitude. The atmosphere is going to be against us, but that is normal.”

Herrera has endured a frustrating start to the season, after the arrival of Nemanja Matic. Jose Mourinho seems to prefer playing Paul Pogba alongside the Serbian, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan playing further forward.

Herrera was seen as United’s key man in midfield last season, despite the arrival of Paul Pogba. No doubt Mourinho will see the Spaniard in his plans for the big games this season. The 2-0 victory over Chelsea last year is a reminder of what Herrera can do in big games.

I think the important thing for United on Saturday will be to not let the atmosphere dictate the match. The crowd at Stoke are always fired up for a big game and no doubt the player will be, especially against United. United need to take control early on, and an early goal would be even better. Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed a rich vein of goalscoring form over the international break, which will hopefully put him in good stead for Saturday.

United’s good start has helped to prepare them for tough away days like this one. Mourinho’s men will take the confidence into this game and hopefully will have enough to see it out. Here’s hoping for four wins from four.

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