Having won only one and drawn as many of six of their last eight Premier League matches, Manchester United desperately need to get the ship pointing back in the right direction on Sunday when Tottenham Hotspur visit Old Trafford.
Thursday's victory over Zorya Luhansk in Odessa took United into the knockout phase of the Europa League, but while that was their eighth victory in cup competitions this term they have only five wins to their name in 14 league fixtures. Their recent tendency to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory has undermined whatever challenge they were hoping to mount for the title and left them running to stand still in the race for the top four positions.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping to make the most of the run of six straight league matches which are coming up over the Christmas and New Year period, with United's season targets potentially being redefined by the time Reading head to the Theatre of Dreams in the FA Cup third round on January 7.
MAN UTD INJURIES
While the injury situation is beginning to clear at Old Trafford, Mourinho has refused to be drawn on the status of Chris Smalling following his toe injury. The England defender put in a hardy but disappointing display against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October and has not been seen since. Eric Bailly picked up a knee problem in the same game but passed the test of his comeback appearance in midweek against Zorya despite momentarily looking set to leave the pitch due to a neck issue during the second half.
Juan Mata was withdrawn in the 65th minute and was seen speaking to a member of United's medical staff, and while he is expected to be available for selection any slight issue carried over from Ukraine could be used in mitigation when it comes to Mourinho choosing between his countless options in attacking midfield.
Luke Shaw didn't travel to Odessa having also missed the trip to Everton last weekend, but he is also likely to be fit for Tottenham's visit. However, he has been left out of his manager's first-choice line-up in recent weeks with Matteo Darmian favoured at left-back.
MAN UTD SUSPENSIONS
United have Wayne Rooney back available in domestic action after he missed the trip to Everton due to suspension. Having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against West Ham United in the EFL Cup, the skipper has now seen his rap sheet wiped clean following his absence for the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
Antonio Valencia has racked up four yellow cards so far this term, meaning a booking on Sunday would rule him out of the midweek trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.
MAN UTD POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Mourinho will make changes once more following the 2-0 win in midweek, but he is expected to name a strong line-up for one of the toughest tests of United's season. He will have many difficult decisions to make, though.
Wayne Rooney's improving form could see Paul Pogba maintained as one of two midfielders rather than a No.10, leaving Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera potentially fighting over one shirt. Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw could all be jostling for the left-back berth, while Eric Bailly's impressive return against Zorya leaves Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo both open to the chop from the league line-up.
Further up the field, Mourinho has expressed his dilemma in the attacking midfield positions, with Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford essentially battling for two spots between them.
Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs have recorded back-to-back wins over the past week after seeing their season take a turn for the worse in their previous pair of fixtures. The Champions League loss to Monaco ended their participation at the group stage and just four days later they saw their unbeaten Premier League record ended by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where their title challenge came apart last term.
But their last league fixture saw them return to form with a 5-0 thrashing of whipping-boys Swansea City, and they followed that up with a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow at Wembley to end their Champions League challenge on a moderate high.
They also received a recent boost with the news Harry Kane has signed a new contract to keep him in north London until 2022, but the one-time United target does not have a clever record against the Red Devils.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Manchester United have won only two of their last eight Premier League contests against Spurs (D3 L3).
Spurs’ 3-0 win over Manchester United in April at White Hart Lane was their biggest win over the Red Devils in the Premier League since January 1996 (4-1).
However, Tottenham have lost 19 times at Old Trafford in the Premier League (W2 D3), their most defeats at a visiting ground.
Spurs are one of seven teams Wayne Rooney has scored 10+ Premier League goals against.
Harry Kane has scored against 21 of the 24 different opponents that he has faced in the Premier League, but is yet to score against Man Utd in five apps. The other teams that he has played but not scored against in the competition are Watford (2 apps, 0 goals) and Cardiff City (2 apps, 0 goals)
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The game gets under way at 2:15pm UK time on Sunday, with national TV coverage provided on Sky Sports 1. The referee will be Bobby Madley.