David Moyes will certainly have had some nightmares before succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson in the Old Trafford hotseat this summer. Following a disastrous first six months in charge of the reigning Champions, those nightmares are probably starting to feel like reality for the former Everton boss.
United sit seventh in the Premier League, five points adrift of the Champions League places that the United hierarchy surely had identified as a minimum objective for Moyes at the start of the season.
They have lost six games already this season in the league, with four of those defeats coming at Old Trafford. The previously impenetrable fortress appears to have fallen under Moyes’ watch.
What is more worrying, however, is the increasingly poor performances being produced by a number of players that Ferguson relied so heavily upon throughout his final years at the helm of the club.
Stalwarts such as Nemanja Vidic can seemingly no longer be relied upon to produce when called upon, whilst Robin van Persie, so ever-present in United’s 2012/13 triumph, has been non-existent for the Red Devils this season, plagued by injuries and a dramatic loss of form.
There appears to be a complete lack of self-belief surrounding Manchester United at present, culminating in three consecutive and embarrassing 2-1 defeats against Tottenham, Swansea and Sunderland.
A loss against Spurs was something almost entirely unheard of for United fans during Ferguson’s reign, whilst defeat at home to Swansea meant United crashed out of the FA Cup at the third round stage for the first time since 2009.
However, this latest defeat versus bottom of the table Sunderland in the first leg of the semi-final of the Capital One Cup is arguably the most damaging of the lot to Moyes’ increasingly fragile reputation.
Sunderland were good value for their win, with the likes of Wes Brown, John O’Shea and debutant Marcos Alonso defending extremely capably to keep out a United side that struggled to carve out any clear cut chances in the closing stages of the game.
Admittedly, a 2-1 defeat is by no means a disaster, with a home leg at Old Trafford to follow in two weeks time.
Having said this, United will have to awaken from this slumber quickly and produce a much-improved performance if they are to stand a chance of ending Moyes’ nightmare with a piece of silverware in his first season in charge.