Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho blamed the international break for disrupting his team’s rhythm.
The Red Devils dropped points for the first time this season in a 2-2 draw at Stoke.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fired Stoke ahead only for Marcus Rashford to level before the break. Romelu Lukaku then fired United ahead in the second half but Choupo-Moting’s second in the 63rd minute earned Stoke a point.
“It was a difficult match for different reasons,” Mourinho said on BT Sport. “My players, after the international break, are not the same.
“They weren’t performing at their normal level but we were in the game, we fought hard and we were closer to winning than losing.
“Stoke are big, strong and powerful in the air. They fought hard and probably deserved a point.
“A point is a point. It is not what we came for but a point is a point.”
Choupo-Moting scored his first Stoke goals following his move from Schalke.
“We came back after 2-1 down so personally I’m happy for my goals but most importantly we played a great game at home,” he said.
“My aim is always to score or get an assist so I’m very happy we didn’t lose and I’m happy for my first goals for Stoke – I hope to continue like that.”
Stoke lost their season opener at Everton but then beat Arsenal before back-to-back draws away to West Brom and now at home to United.
“It’s been a difficult start for us in terms of the fixtures the computer has thrown up but we’ve had good performances,” Hughes said on BT Sport.
“I thought it was a magnificent performance today against arguably the best team up to this point in Manchester United and the threat they gave us.
“I thought it was a better performance than the winning performance against Arsenal.”
At the end of the match, Mourinho appeared to refuse the offer of a handshake from Hughes, but the Stoke boss shrugged it off.
“I’m not quite sure what happened,” he said. “I seem to get involved in handshake issues. It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last.
“I offered my hand but Jose didn’t want to take it. Maybe he was upset about the result. The top managers don’t like it when they get the bad results. I have to get used to it sometimes.”