It looked inevitable that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be relieved of his duties at Manchester United in the days that followed Sunday’s 5-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool.
Yet so far, it’s not been the case. In fact, it’s been business as usual for the Norwegian who’s been at Carrington taking training in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.
The initial minority has now become the majority in the view that Solskjaer is out of his depth, yet he’s not going to walk and United’s hierarchy, with Sir Alex Ferguson guiding them, aren’t going to pull the trigger - for now at least.
Given the nature of football, that could all change in a second, but for the time being at least, the squad focus must switch back to reversing United’s current poor form which has seen them lose five of their last nine matches, and three of their last four in the Premier League.
Whilst United have looked disjointed at times in attack, Sunday was actually the first time they’d failed to find the back of the net in four matches.
And instead, it’s the defence that looks to be the team’s current biggest worry.
The Reds have shipped 11 goals in three matches, with a large portion of that leakiness being attributed to the omission of Raphael Varane who picked up an injury during the course of this month’s international break away with France.
Yet in truth, the writing has been on the wall in relation to United’s defensive issues pretty much since the beginning of the campaign.
Although the season started with a bang, dismantling Leeds United 5-1 at Old Trafford, across the eight league matches since, it’s striking to note that no side has a higher accumulated Expected Goals Against (xGA) total across the whole Premier League than United’s of 14.58.
What this indicates is that United have conceded more high-quality chances against than any other side in the league, including strugglers such as Watford and Newcastle United, both of whom have parted with their managers during that time.
Sign up to our United newsletter so you never miss an update from Old Trafford this season.
Even if you were to discount the heavy loss to Liverpool and focus on the game’s prior, United’s combined xGA would still have them loitering inside the bottom half of the division.
A big cause has been how wide open United have found themselves when teams attack them, particularly when the ball has been turned over.
United tend to see more of the ball than most opponents they come up against, in fact, their possession average of 57.2 per cent is bettered by only three other sides so far.
Yet issues mainly arise in transition, with the team often left too open allowing opponents to generate high-quality chances.
This point is captured by the fact that their average xGA per shot on target faced (0.37) is the third highest in the league, behind only Southampton and Norwich City. A higher average equates to tougher shots to save and points to efforts that are more likely to lead to goals.
For comparison, league rivals Chelsea (0.15) and Manchester City (0.20) sit at the other end of the scale, highlighting just how far United are off their rivals in the defensive department this season.
The long-term fix is, put bluntly, is better coaching. Yet in the short term, if he remains in charge, Solskjaer needs to sacrifice dominance of possession and territory higher up the pitch in favour of perhaps playing a little deeper, more compact, and therein making United less open at the back.
Doing so could be key to starting the process of turning around the current rut they find themselves in.