• Premier League

Hernandez should not have been on pitch - Hughes

ESPN staff
October 27, 2013
Javier Hernandez headed Manchester United's winning goal against Stoke © Getty Images

Mark Hughes insists Javier Hernandez should not even have been on the pitch to score the winner in Manchester United's dramatic 3-2 victory over Stoke at Old Trafford.

Substitute Hernandez pounced with ten minutes remaining to give United all three points, though Stoke boss Hughes was left fuming after the striker was shown just a yellow card for a late challenge on Robert Huth.

"In my opinion he shouldn't have been on the pitch anyway for the challenge on Robert Huth," said Hughes.

"It was a reckless challenge, I'm sure the lad would agree himself. It's dangerous and you've seen players sent off for lesser chances than that many times before. So we're disappointed with that decision.

"Why the assistant referee didn't see fit to do something about it I don't know. We were disappointed with the decision by the referee. It is very difficult to go against a 70,000 crowd here. Sometimes you have to be strong as a referee."

Huth received prolonged treatment after Hernandez caught his shin. At the time, Stoke were leading 2-1 thanks to Marko Arnautovic's free-kick. Robin van Persie had earlier cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener.

Wayne Rooney glanced in Van Persie's corner with 12 minutes to go before Hernandez completed a quick-fire turnaround, with Hughes claiming United were "lucky" to win.

"In terms of what we produced and chances created, I felt we could have been 4-1 to the good with our first-half performance," he said.

"They didn't create much apart from the key moments. We deserved something. We had a game plan, it needed people to do the hard yards and affect the game.

"We took the game to United. If they are honest, they'd have to admit they were lucky to take all three points. Set-plays got them on level terms and then their winner was a stand-up cross."

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