David Moyes could do with a Red Devils comeback in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal, after defeat to Chelsea left them 14 points off league leader Arsenal
Moyes' men have been off the pace in the Premier League, going down 3-1 at Chelsea on Sunday to leave the defending champions seventh, and they were also knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle by Swansea City in what has been a poor start to 2014.
The Capital One Cup is Moyes' most realistic hope of silverware this term. United is still in the Champions League, and the Red Devils will need to come from behind to progress against Sunderland, having been beaten 2-1 in the first leg at the Stadium of Light.
A Ryan Giggs own goal and Fabio Borini's penalty handed Gus Poyet's men the upper hand a fortnight ago, and Moyes will be desperate to add the Capital One Cup to the United trophy cabinet.
United has lost four of its last seven home games in all competitions and will likely need to be on top form for the visit of Poyet's men, who have lost just one of their last 10 outings.
Despite Sunday's setback at Stamford Bridge, Phil Jones remains confident United can salvage something from the club's season - starting on Wednesday against Sunderland.
"I don't think we're a long way away from the teams at the top [of the Premier League]," Jones told the club's official website.
"Now we have to bounce back and we have an important game on Wednesday night.
"We're not a million miles away, I'm telling you, but we need to stick together if we're going to turn it around."
One of the main threats to United's progression is likely to be former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson, who has five goals from his last four games.
After scoring a hat trick against Fulham on Jan. 11, Johnson was Sunderland's hero on Saturday as he netted the equalizer against Southampton in a 2-2 comeback to earn a point and make it four games unbeaten.
Progression for either side would set up a final against Manchester City at Wembley, with Sunderland eying its first Capital One Cup success and United its fifth.
Despite never having won the competition, Sunderland has reached the semifinals on three occasions, making the final once back in 1985.