The only really positive result so far in David Moyes' reign as Manchester United manager has been that 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup third round a week ago.
Manchester United forward Rooney might have to step up with Robin Van Persie a doubt
The high of that victory did not last too long, with United going down to West Brom in the English Premier League at Old Trafford, despite taking the lead.
It is now two straight losses in the Premier League for Moyes - one an embarrassing one to their neighbours, and the other an upset when three points should have really been guaranteed.
Moyes, for the moment, does not look like he knows what he is doing, and might have bitten off a lot more than he can chew.
"I have been in (difficult) situations very similar to this at my old clubs Everton and Preston," Moyes said. "You get on and you do the right things. I haven't changed what I have done. I will continue to do that. The results will come. I have no doubt about that."
Only problem is Manchester United is not Everton or Preston, with all due respect to the other two clubs.
This is a side that has only known winning for the past 20 years or so, and romped to the Premier League title last season.
Maybe Sir Alex Ferguson was just that good, and anyone coming in his stead would have struggled, like Moyes is right now - just not as bad as lying 12th in the Premier League after six games, though.
It doesn't get any easier with this daunting trip to Donetsk to take on Champions League regulars Shakhtar.
The Ukrainian side are much changed from last year, though, with Fernandinho, Willian and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all gone. However, in Mircea Lucescu, they have a shrewd manager, capable of taking on the best footballing minds in the world.
"Champions League matches are always like a holiday for me -- I really look forward to these games," Lucescu said.
"I have watched most of United's recent matches and can say that David Moyes hasn't found his best lineup yet, as he is changing four or five players from game to game.
"The link-up play between their players is not as good as it used to be so the team suffers, which is happening with us too because Shakhtar have a lot of new players."
Moyes needs to find solace somewhere, and it might as well be in the Champions League, particularly after that big win over Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday One.
Team News: Shakhtar have no real injury worries, with Lucescu confident Luiz Adriano will be fit for the game.
Anderson, Wilfried Zaha and Fabio have not travelled, while Rio Ferdinand misses out with a groin problem.
Key men: Shakhtar Donetsk: Douglas Costa has started to make an impression in the first team and United will have to thwart the playmaker's creativity.
Manchester United: Robin Van Persie has not had the best of starts to the season, but Moyes desperately needs the Dutch striker to come to the party, and soon.
Where to watch
The match is scheduled for a 12.15 a.m. (IST, Thursday) kickoff, with it set for a live telecast on Ten Sports.
Expected lineups: Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov; Srna, Kryvtsov, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk; Hubschman, Fernando, Douglas Costa, Alex Teixeira, Taison; Ferreyra.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Fellaini; Valencia, Rooney, Young; Van Persie.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Top Ten Richest Americans [PHOTOS]
- A Tribute To Great Actor Paul Walker: Best Quotes From 'Fast And Furious' Films [PHOTOS/ VIDEOS]
- Slideshow: Kate Middleton Looks Ravishing in Black Net Dress, Covers Up Grey [SEE PHOTOS]
- Is Orlando Bloom’s Wife, Miranda Kerr Singing Love Songs for James Packer? [WATCH VIDEOS]