The good news for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he gingerly surveys the mud patches on the worn-out pitch of Prenton Park on Sunday afternoon, is that Sir Alex Ferguson once survived being dumped out of the FA Cup by a League One side.
Admittedly he had 17 years of credit and a historic treble in the bank before he suffered that fate in 2010. And when he lost it was to high-flying Leeds, a northern powerhouse relegated beyond their status, with Jermaine Beckford stunning Old Trafford.
That was embarrassing but it wasn't Tranmere Rovers, currently 21st in League One, and scrapping in the National League two years ago.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he's confident he has the backing the Manchester United board
Solskjaer oversaw a dismal display as United were beaten 2-0 by Burnley on Wednesday
Solskjaer is adamant his United players aren't hiding from criticism after defeat to Burnley
To reach back for comparisons you would have to go back 26 years to 1984, when Harry Redknapp was a fresh-faced young Bournemouth manager sporting an classic old-school adidas tracksuit telling Match of the Day how beating Manchester United 2-0 was the best day of his life.
It would turn out Redknapp would have even better days, winning the trophy, with Portsmouth in 2008. And Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson would survive that calamity. It would be more than two years later, in November 1986, that he would be sacked, as the once-great club happened upon a young Glaswegian to plot a strategy to turn around a failing institution and rein in an extraordinary Liverpool side.
How times changes. Some old hands, United fans in the latter half of life, could not recall anything quite as dire as United's performance against Burnley on Wednesday night. In reality the 1970s were worse, especially the relegation of 1973-74. But that isn't how it feels at Old Trafford at the moment.
United's players have shown an inability to stand up and be counted in aftermath of defeat
Manchester United just can't lose at Prenton Park. Tranmere are a good club with a proud tradition but they are clear about their relative status. Their fixtures were once delightfully marketed as 'Friday Night Fever,' the Merseyside club playing early in the weekend so fans could go to watch Liverpool and Everton on the Saturday.
The reality is that this United side, shorn of Marcus Rashford, undoubtedly could lose. They should have enough to overcome Tranmere. But the performance against Burnley didn't offer confidence. Nor did the reaction.
Those at the game reported that, once TV interviews had been fulfilled, players scurried out, many of them averting the gaze of waiting reporters. No-one was ready to front-up, take responsibility and answer the hard questions. Sometimes, off-field demeanour provides a marker for a player's on-field performance. Being able to stand up and be counted in the worst of times marked Solskjaer in his playing times and many of his team-mates, such as Roy Keane, Gary Neville or Peter Schmeichel.
Now, as a manager, he defends this young group, as he must, when the point was put to him that they're hiding. 'I have not seen many of my players getting their hoods up, hiding and trying to disappear,' he insisted. 'I can see loads of players that really want this to be a success and we put demands on ourselves behind [closed] doors.
'Yes, of course they are not going to come out and criticise each other. I am not going to sit here and criticise my players. I will do that behind closed doors. We have open discussions there but we are not going to hang people out to dry. That is just common sense because if I point a finger at you, more fingers get pointed back at me. So I disagree with you.'
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Defeat to Tranmere on Sunday could force Ed Woodward to consider managerial change
The fighting talk is to be expected. Solskjaer believes in the core of this group, though he will know that he will need another six or seven players before he can truly say it is the team he wants. Paul Pogba will doubtless leave in the summer, freeing up budget to revitalise the midfield.
'We have to spend wisely, that's one of the keys for me, that we spend our money wisely,' said