The Old Trafford outfit face Real Sociedad in the Champions League on Wednesday night, and a win can all-but guarantee qualification for the knockout stages.
It is all doom and gloom around Old Trafford at the moment, with Premier League champions Manchester United seemingly a fading force after a managerial change.
Whoever came to the club to replace the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson after 26 years was going to have a job on their hands, and David Moyes has found the going tough to date.
One of the main low points of the new season for United has been indifferent home form. The side have only amassed five points from four games at Old Trafford in the Premier League, when much more were expected.
A slightly fortuitous win over Crystal Palace and a toothless performance against Chelsea have been followed by a catastrophic defeat to West Brom and a draw against Southampton on Saturday.
However, with the club’s fans feeling sorry for themselves, Moyes has an instant opportunity to raise the collective spirits this week.
Real Sociedad are the visitors to Manchester on Wednesday night and a win for the hosts will give them seven points and a foot in the next stage of the Champions League.
The Spaniards are struggling domestically, sitting in 12th place in La Liga with only two wins from their opening nine games of the new season.
If United can come out all guns blazing and record a solid victory, it has the ability to get the feel-good factor back at the club.
One of the Red Devils’ best performances of the season to date came in their last fixture in the Champions League at home; a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The English champions played some exciting football, scoring good team goals and comprehensively beat a team that is challenging for top spot in the Bundesliga.
It was not all glory times under Ferguson; in 2011-12 United were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages despite having a mediocre looking pool. Last season the side looked as far away as ever to winning Europe’s top trophy also.
If Moyes can get his United side firing in Europe with another commanding performance and victory on home soil, some of the domestic disdain that is being encountered could dissipate slightly.
image: © Paolo Camera