Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left with no excuses in his quest to end the club's four-year trophy drought when Cristiano Ronaldo headlined a starry transfer window.
But the Norwegian has failed to match expectations and Saturday's 4-2 loss at Leicester left United five points adrift in the Premier League title race and already out of the League Cup.
The scrutiny on Solskjaer is increasing ahead of Atalanta's visit to Old Trafford in the Champions League on Wednesday with progress to the last 16 of Europe's premier club competition far from certain.
Ronaldo's last-gasp strike to snatch a 2-1 win over Villarreal three weeks ago was badly needed after United lost their opening game in Group F to Swiss champions Young Boys.
Solskjaer already has one early group stage exit on his CV. Last season the Red Devils blew a perfect start to be knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. Failure to reach the knockout stages again could be the final blow to Solskjaer's credibility among a fanbase beginning to turn on the man who famously won them the Champions League with a stoppage time goal against Bayern Munich in 1999.
United spent o73 million to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund in July and followed that with the impressive capture of four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.
But Ronaldo's return relegated Sancho's signing to the shadows. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored five times in eight games since returning to the club where he made his name. However, United have won only three of those eight games.