Life has been tough for David Moyes recently, with him receiving plenty of criticism for the way in which he is playing his Manchester United side - that has left them loitering in mid-table after the worst Premier League start in their history.
The Champions League provided a welcome break from the worries of domestic football, as an away draw against Shakhtar Donetsk is never an achievement that should be shirked at.
This evening however they face Sunderland, knowing that victory will be expected at The Stadium of Light against the Premier League’s basement club.
For two Sunderland players it is a chance to face off against their former employers. Unfortunately it is a chance that has come to soon for one of the players, as Wes Brown will sit the game out with a calf problem.
But John O’Shea, who this morning has been singing the praises of caretaker boss Kevin Ball, is likely to start against many of his former team-mates.
Defeat today is considered likely for The Black Cats - still reeling from the early season drama of Paolo Di Canio’s forced departure and rumours of coup d’état in the dressing room.
So the visit of the Premier League champions would not have been high on their wish list - but if there was ever a time to play United it is probably now, as they are reeling from defeat to West Brom at home last week.
Stopping United scoring will be key to any success that Sunderland have today, and the Fergie old boy O’Shea will be key to downing Moyes’ men - and heaping more misery on top of the pile that is steadily escalating to Everest proportions for the new manager.
Fergie signed O’Shea from Waterford Bohemians, handing him his debut in 1999 against Aston Villa in the League Cup.
The Irishman was an integral member of the United team - playing at both full-back positions, in central midfield and at the heart of defence.
But any sentimentality for his former team will not be personified by his old gaffer in the opposing dugout this evening, and O’Shea is due a showstopping performance - why not today against the club where he won 15 major trophies in a 12 year career - even if it does pile on the pain for the man tasked with guiding them in the post-Fergie era.
image: © hunganh3