Two goals down to a struggling Newcastle United side at Old Trafford, the jig looked up for Jose Mourinho.
Third-season syndrome had kicked in once again. Morale was at rock-bottom, tensions at breaking point, results poor and the atmosphere toxic.
But then it wasn’t. Then everything changed. A miraculous three-goal fightback in the second half saw Man Utd roar to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Newcastle. And with it came a turning point.
They also responded to a home defeat by Juventus to grab yet another come-from-behind victory in Turin last week.
But this weekend comes the real test in the form of the Premier League’s best, with a trip to reigning the champions, their suave neighbours across the city led by an old foe.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City look as if they will once again prove unstoppable this term. But Man Utd are seemingly now a new beast. And City have won just two of their last eight matches against the Red Devils in all competitions (D2 L4) since winning four in a row between 2013 and 2014.
And Mourinho, of course, came out on top last term with a shocking 3-2 win at the Etihad despite being 0-2 down, on an afternoon that made City wait to claim the title.
Premier League meetings between Manchester City and Manchester United have been won by the away side on 17 occasions – only Aston Villa vs Liverpool (19) and Everton vs Man Utd (18) have been won by the visiting team more often.
Man Utd are now looking to win back-to-back Premier League games at the stadium for just the second time, having previously done so with wins in November 2008 and April 2010.
But Mourinho’s men still lie down in seventh and City have not lost any of their last 53 Premier League games against sides starting the day outside the top four (W44 D9 L0), since a 0-4 loss at Everton in January 2017.
Moreover, Guardiola has never lost consecutive home league games against a single opponent in his whole managerial career.
The stakes are high. The pressure is on.