The good news for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he skillfully investigates the mud plasters on the worn Prenton Park field on Sunday, is that Sir Alex Ferguson once survived being dumped from the FA Cup by a League One side.
Admittedly, he had 17 years of credit and a historic treble in the bank before he suffered that fate in 2010. And when he lost it was high flying Leeds, a northern powerhouse.
That was embarrassing, but it wasn't Tranmere Rovers, currently 21st in League One and demolished in the National League two years ago. To make comparisons, you would have to go back 26 years to 1984 when Harry Redknapp was a fresh-faced Bournemouth manager with a classic old-fashioned Adidas training suit that told Match of the Day how United defeated the best day of 2-0 his life. How times change.
Some old hands, United fans in the last half of life, could not remember something as horrible as the screening of United against Burnley on Wednesday night. In reality, the seventies were worse, especially the degradation of 1973-74. But that is not how it feels at Old Trafford at the moment. United just can't lose at Prenton Park.
Tranmere is a good club with a proud tradition, but they are clear about their relative status. Their games were once wonderfully marketed as & # 39; Friday Night Fever & # 39 ;, the Merseyside club that played early in the weekend, so fans could watch Liverpool and Everton on Saturday. The reality is that this United side, shaved from Marcus Rashford, could lose on Sunday.
They must have enough to win. But the screen against Burnley offered no confidence. The response either. The players of the game reported that as soon as the TV interviews were completed, the players rushed outside, many of which diverted the gaze from waiting reporters. Being able to get up and be counted in the worst times, Solskjaer noted in his playing time.
Now as a manager he defends this young group, as he should, when it becomes clear that they are hiding. & # 39; I have not seen many of my players raise their hoods, hide and try to disappear, & # 39; he insisted. & # 39; I see a lot of players who want this to be a success. We have open discussions behind the doors, but we are not going to hang people to dry. That's just common sense, because when I point your finger at you, more fingers are pointed at me. So I don't agree with you. & # 39;
The combat conversation is to be expected. Solskjaer believes in the core of this group, although he still needs six or seven players before he can say that it is the team he wants. Paul Pogba will no doubt leave in the summer and free up a budget to breathe new life into midfield. & # 39; We have to spend wisely, that's one of the keys for me & # 39 ;, Solskjaer added. & # 39; We've spent a lot of money in the last five or six seasons since Sir Alex left, and I have to make sure that the club makes sure that when we spend the money it's the right type. & # 39;
Solskjaer insists that he make a promise: that vice-president Ed Woodward looked him in the eye and agreed with his analysis that turning over a club's oil tanker will take time. It must be said that David Moyes felt that he had been told the same thing, just like Louis van Gaal. Jose Mourinho, you suspected, was always too cunning to be that familiar. But Solskjaer does believe. & # 39; When we sat down, we all agreed, the club and I, that the culture had to change & he said.
& # 39; It is not as I was told without my permission what we do because we agreed on things when we signed contracts. & # 39; I am not afraid of my position in that regard, I just keep working. Of course you need results, but I will not spend a lot of money on someone who comes in here if they are not suitable for the club. & # 39;
That is bold; even naive. If he doesn't sign a center to strengthen Anthony Martial and replace the Rashford goals, Solskjaer could eventually do what is good for the club by not wasting their money but losing his job. In the same vein, allowing Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to go last summer, was probably right if they wanted to reform the club.
& # 39; I didn't think: & # 39; Oh, I wish I had kept it. & # 39; Some that we let go did not fit the culture I was trying to build. That is why we made sure that the players we know will run through a brick wall in front of the club – not everyone did that. & # 39;
There was a hint that threatened to compromise, a short-term purchase. "There may be players of a different age who can come in to help this young group."
And Solskjaer refused to place a firewall between himself and Woodward during this difficult time. & # 39; It is a skill to sometimes look at yourself in the mirror and not just blame others, & # 39; he said. & # 39; Some of us blame others, some of us think we are better than others. I believe in the structure that was set up here in the time that I was here. & # 39;
Still, it will take time to bear fruit. And recent history suggests that failing managers are not offered a luxury in the United States.