Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has defended Stoke against criticism they get from other managers ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.Ferguson thinks that judging Tony Pulis' side as too physical, as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has done, is unfair. [LNB]"People have criticised their physical style of play but they stick to what they do best," said Ferguson. [LNB]"I have a great admiration for Tony and the wry way he rides the criticism. If anything, it galvanises the players." [LNB]Wenger was incensed by a tackle from Stoke's Ryan Shawcross which led to his midfielder Aaron Ramsey's broken leg in February, and he has previously accused Pulis' side of employing "rugby style" tactics while suggesting some players were "cowards" after a match in November 2008. [LNB]"I suppose Arsene Wenger has been one of their main critics, but then he does go off on a tangent at times," stated Ferguson.[LNB] Can Stoke cause an upset at Old Trafford? "For instance, he criticised our pitch after they lost here before Christmas and I was at a loss to understand why." Ahead of their match against the Premier League leaders on Tuesday, Pulis said he was hoping for a change of luck after Stoke - who sit eighth in the table - lost their two previous league meetings at Old Trafford 5-0 and 4-0. [LNB]"We will go to Old Trafford and give it our best shot," he said. [LNB]"We've run them close at our place but not at Old Trafford. We've struggled there. Hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves." [LNB]With United still struggling to play the attractive football they have become known for, the club's defender Nemanja Vidic admits that Ferguson's side are surprised by the season's events so far. [LNB]"This season is very strange," commented Vidic. "If you had told me five weeks ago that Chelsea would be in the position they are now, I wouldn't have believed it. [LNB]"Everyone thought they were the strongest team and that they would win the title. But then they didn't win for six games. [LNB]"And look how many points we have lost this season. If someone had told me this would happen, I would have said we could not win the league. But here we are top and still unbeaten." [LNB]The hosts have fitness concerns over Wayne Rooney
, Patrice Evra and Nani but Stoke have a near fully-fit squad to choose from.