Stoke equalised with a superb Steven Nzonzi strike after the hosts broke the deadlock through Marouane Fellaini but Juan Mata’s controversial second-half free-kick – which crept into the net with defender Marcos Rojo standing in an offside position – gave Louis van Gaal’s side victory.
In a furious finale, Stoke might have levelled on two occasions deep in injury time, though.??First, a Bojan Krkic free-kick was flicked to the far post, where former United reserve Mame Biram Diouf connected with a diving header that was superbly saved by David de Gea.??
Then, Ashley Young cleared off the United line after Diouf looked certain to score, leaving Hughes, who has??now seen his side suffer three successive Premier League defeats, frustrated.
“We’re left shaking our heads again because this is another game, another stadium we’ve come to – one of the big five or six clubs in this league – and given a great account of ourselves,” he said. “We’re desperately disappointed once again not to take something out of the game.
“At the end of the game we had two or three clear-cut chances with just that luck of the ball on the line. We’re talking a hair’s breadth of it (Diouf) being a goal and not being a goal, so that’s how it’s going for us at the moment.
“We’re disappointed with the second goal because we think it’s offside. Those decisions have to go for you, certainly when you come to a ground like Old Trafford.
“You need the officials to get the key moments correct and I don’t think you could argue that Rojo was interfering with play. He’s trying to jump and it’s missed his head by centimetres so he’s clearly in an offside position because he’s ahead of the ball.
“The linesman doesn’t give it so at 2-1, having got back on level terms in the first half through good play, we’re up against it again, but we kept on going.
“We’re not getting turned over by anybody. We’re a good team and we’re competitive in this league.”