Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s words cut deeper than Blades: Richard Buxton
United boss' reference to 4-0 defeat by Everton reiterates how far they've fallen
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can no longer be accused of being asleep at the wheel.
In a bid to save his own skin, he is throwing Manchester United firmly under the bus.
A 3-3 draw with Sheffield United yesterday morning (Singapore time) may have spared his blushes, but the Norwegian somehow managed to edge himself closer to the Old Trafford exit.
The Red Devils mustered a solitary shot on goal at Bramall Lane in an abject first-half display that left Solskjaer wishing to replace everyone in his starting XI, bar David de Gea.
His superiors were wishing to enact a similar change in the dugout, and they still might.
Solskjaer continues to insist that Mauricio Pochettino's new-found availability does not faze him, yet is steadfastly attempting every trick in the book to avoid finding himself cornered.
No one is immune from attack, including those he entrusts most at the Theatre of Dreams.
Turns out that the United manager is practically the same as the man he replaced.
Comparisons with Jose Mourinho will bristle but, like the new Tottenham Hotspur boss, Solskjaer's public demeanour is seemingly an acknowledgement that the gig will soon be up for him.
Hopes of emulating his mentor Sir Alex Ferguson's success were doomed from the outset.
No amount of comeback kids or misty-eyed nostalgia can delay what is increasingly inevitable.
Harking back months, rather than to 1999, has become his latest preferred tactic.
An Easter Sunday hammering by Everton is now seen as the reference point for United's malaise.
No matter how bad things get, they will never compare to that 4-0 humiliation at Goodison Park seven months ago.
A second-half fightback in the Steel City, where goals by Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford helped United lead 3-2 briefly, supposedly flew in the face of that domestic nadir, with Solskjaer arguing his side would have lost by five goals last season.
But that three-goal burst in seven minutes cannot mask the ills of the past seven months, which remain worryingly unaddressed.
His attempts to accentuate the positives rang increasingly hollow.
Six of those who started that 4-0 thrashing by the Toffees started in Sheffield, while only three of that 18-man squad - Chris Smalling, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku - have left Old Trafford.
It is a fact which bears repeating with every sideways step that United make.
Phil Jones is inexplicably still called upon to hold the line in defence despite continually faltering.
Ferguson's 2013 assertion that the haphazard defender could become one of the club's greatest players feels like a cruel post-retirement joke on the Scotsman's part.
Statistics further condemn Solskjaer's full-time tenure, with United now failing to keep a clean sheet in their previous 12 away games in the English Premier League.
It is a feat rivalled only by the tally of 15 during the death throes of Ron Atkinson's spell back in 1985/86.
Each dismal setback merely solidifies Pochettino's credentials to take the Old Trafford reins.
The 20-time English champions are sitting nine points adrift of a top-four place; something which should have been a prerequisite by this stage.
The greatest trick Solskjaer ever pulled was convincing United that he was the right man to fix the dilapidated house that Ferguson once built.
Results and performances beg to differ.
Ripping up and starting over may be considered unbecoming, yet it represents United's best chance of salvaging something from a season that continues to veer off-road.