The 49-year-old takes his side to Old Trafford on Saturday looking to capitalise on the club’s worst start to the season since 1989, with a victory enough to see Stoke move level on points with his former club.
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"I don’t think there’s that aura around the club at the moment and maybe it’s a good time to meet them," Hughes told reporters. "I dread saying that because they might listen tomorrow and take exception to that.
"But Southampton did well. West Brom have gone there and won so it’s more than possible that we can get a positive result. You can’t go to Old Trafford and be apprehensive, you have to be positive and have a go.
"The key is to go there and think ‘this is going to be our day’. If we do everything right and we take our chances, we can certainly go there thinking we can win."
United, who are seven points off top, have lost three games in the league this season and Hughes believes the club cannot afford to succumb to defeat again if they are to remain in the title race.
He continued: "You have to be careful. There are only a certain amount of games you can lose; five or six enables you to still be in the title race.
"Lose any more than six then you make it very difficult for yourself, nigh on impossible. They have lost three at the moment. They can’t afford any more slip-ups.
"Maybe they are a little bit vulnerable at the moment. Invariably when people question Manchester United they come back with the answers."