STOKE, England — Jose Mourinho took aim at Stoke’s apparently defensive tactics after Manchester United’s perfect start to the English Premier League ended in a 2-2 draw in the fourth round on Saturday.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting became the first player to score against United this season when he netted twice for Stoke by capitalizing on errors by Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.
The Cameroon forward’s opener was canceled out by Marcus Rashford in first-half stoppage time. After Romelu Lukaku put United in front in the 57th minute, Choupo-Moting headed in Stoke’s equalizer six minutes later.
“One team wanted to win, another team wanted to draw,” Mourinho said. “(Stoke) defended a lot and it is becoming quite trendy in the Premier League, this way of defending now. But they did well and physically they were very strong and they probably deserved the point.”
United scored 10 goals without reply in its three victories before the international break but came unstuck against a team that has already beaten Arsenal this season.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes accused Mourinho of taking the result poorly. There was an incident between the coaches during the match and they didn’t shake hands at fulltime as is customary.
“I pushed him because he was in my technical area,” Hughes said. “Maybe that’s why he didn’t want to shake my hand. Maybe it’s because it has to be viewed as a negative result for him, coming to Stoke when everybody expected them to beat us.
“It’s a negative. Sometimes managers of top-six clubs don’t take negative results too kindly. Sometimes, because they’re not used to having to take negative results, sometimes they react in the wrong way. Maybe he reacted in the wrong way. In fairness, I’ve got history with non-handshakes so maybe it’s me! Who knows?”
In an interview with the BBC, Mourinho said: “I prefer not to answer (the) question about handshakes. It’s a bad question. It makes it look like it’s my fault but that’s not right.”
United and Manchester City are the early pacesetters in the league, separated by only goal difference. Stoke has half of United’s points haul, collecting five from four games.
“We will always try and go up against teams,” Hughes said. “We’ll never just sit back and wait for the inevitable. I thought we asked questions from the beginning to the end and not many have done that.
“For the most part, United have had the ability and capacity to sweep everybody else before them very comfortably. We were never in any danger of being overrun or overcome by them and that’s great credit to us.”
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