Manchester United can not afford to endure any more failures if they still harbour the ambition of successfully defending their Premier League title this season, claims Mark Hughes.

The 2012-13 champions have already recorded three defeats in the league this term - two less then the suffered in the entirety of last season - and find themselves seven points behind leaders Arsenal after only eight games.

Manchester United have lost against Liverpool, West Brom and Manchester City in the league, and face another potential banana skin in their next fixture.

A weekend encounter with Stoke City at Old Trafford would appear to be a must with for Manchester United, even at such an early stage in the season, with little room for error given their record so far this term.

This is a sentiment echoed by Hughes, himself a former Manchester United striker, and he is in a position to further condemn David Moyes' side should his Potters triumph on Saturday.

"You have to be careful," Hughes told reporters. "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, nigh on impossible, for yourself.

"They have lost three and maybe they are a little bit vulnerable at the moment.

"They can't afford any more slip-ups but invariably when people question Manchester United they come back with the answers."

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