Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has firmly thrust himself into the reckoning for the job of permanent Manchester United manager after a record-breaking start to his reign as interim boss.
After the gloom and seemingly terminal decline associated with Jose Mourinho's tenure, the Norwegian inspired an overnight transformation, with several players undergoing metamorphoses.
Indeed, Solskjaer led United to eight consecutive victories in his first eight games at the helm and, while some may argue that the fixture list was kind, it remains a feat that not even Sir Alex Ferguson could achieve.
How Solskjaer and his players respond to that loss will be an indicator of things to come and it is a true test for a team that have been riding a wave of positivity up to now.
"You could see that we've not played games at this level for a while and we're going to have to learn from this experience," Solskjaer told BT Sport after the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
"It's one of those experiences where it can go either way. It's not going to be a season-defining one for us, it has to be one that we're going to learn from."
They will certainly have to learn quickly, with the fixture list serving up a series of difficult matches, each of which could prove definitive.
However, should United manage to navigate their way through unscathed or by at least sustaining as little damage as possible, they will have a relatively straightforward run-in to close the season.
With the Red Devils licking their wounds and regrouping following the PSG defeat, Goal takes a look at the games that will define United and Solskjaer's season.
Manchester United remaining fixtures
|Feb 18||Chelsea (A)||FA Cup|
|Feb 24||Liverpool (H)||Premier League|
|Feb 27||Crystal Palace (A)||Premier League|
|Mar 2||Southampton (H)||Premier League|
|Mar 6||PSG (A)||Champions League|
|Mar 10||Arsenal (A)||Premier League|
|Mar 16||Manchester City (H)||Premier League|
|Mar 30||Watford (H)||Premier League|
|Apr 6||Wolves (A)||Premier League|
|Apr 13||West Ham (H)||Premier League|
|Apr 20||Everton (A)||Premier League|
|Apr 27||Chelsea (H)||Premier League|
|May 5||Huddersfield Town (A)||Premier League|
|May 12||Cardiff City (H)||Premier League|
*The table above shows United's remaining fixtures but is subject to change depending on whether they progress in the FA Cup and Champions League.
Games that will define Man Utd & Solskjaer's season
As you can see in the table above, United are now facing a tricky period, to put it mildly. First up, on February 18, they take on Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round at Stamford Bridge.
On the face of it, a meeting with a Chelsea side which appears to be in disarray bodes well for United. Maurizio Sarri's side have suffered a number of humiliating defeats in recent weeks, losing 4-0 to Bournemouth, then 6-0 to Manchester City, and performances have left plenty to be desired.
Indeed, it has reached the point where the Italian's time seems to be up, but he may be able to see out the season if he can chart a path to the FA Cup final. Solskjaer's men will need to be wary of a potential backlash from the Blues when they face off.
Either way, the outcome of the game will have a knock-on effect; a win will add another fixture to their schedule (on the weekend of March 16 - the same time they're due to play Manchester City), whereas a loss may ease the pressure by reducing the intensity of the coming months.
A week after the FA Cup clash against Chelsea, on February 24, United host rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Amazingly, Solskjaer has elevated the Red Devils to fourth place in the division and they are now on course for automatic qualification to the Champions League - something that was a distant hope under Mourinho.
Jurgen Klopp's side are enduring somewhat of a difficult patch too, but nowhere near the catastrophe that is afflicting Chelsea. After taking a formidable lead in the race for the title, the Merseyside outfit have surprisingly ceded ground to Manchester City and are once again playing catch-up to Pep Guardiola's side.
Nevertheless, the Reds have shown themselves to be worthy contenders and will be up for the game against United, buoyed, no doubt, by the fact that they inflicted a 3-1 defeat on them at Anfield earlier this season - the game which served as the final nail in Mourinho's coffin.
Three days later, United make the trip south to face a resurgent Crystal Palace and three days after that they host a Southampton side that is in a desperate battle to avoid relegation. With games coming in such quick succession it will be a test of United's squad depth, particularly with PSG on the horizon on March 6.
United head to Paris for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and they are fighting an uphill battle to remain in the competition, needing at least three goals from the outset. Should they beat the odds and win it will mean they have to play at least two extra games in April, a month which already contains four league fixtures.
Arsenal at the Emirates follows the game against PSG and that encounter could well end up being a six-pointer in the race for a Champions League finish. The sides played out a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in December, with United twice coming from behind to rescue a point.
Things have undoubtedly changed since then though and the Gunners have been worryingly inconsistent, something that should give United fans cause for optimism, despite being away from home.
Depending on how things go against Chelsea in February, United could be forced to contend with an FA Cup quarter-final on the same weekend they are due to play Manchester City in the second derby of the season, or else the game will be rescheduled.
As things stand, the city rivals are set to go head to head on March 16 at Old Trafford, just under a week after United's game against Arsenal. Guardiola's team triumphed 3-1 at the Etihad in November and Solskjaer will be keen to redress that in front of the home fans.
The Manchester derby marks the end of a particularly difficult run of fixtures for United and the remaining games are relatively easier - on paper, that is. League games against Watford, Wolves, West Ham and Everton follow, while Chelsea, Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City are United's final three games of the season.