Jose Mourinho future will again be plunged into doubt if he suffers more Champions League misery against Cristiano Ronaldo ’s Juventus this week.
Manchester United play in Turin on Wednesday knowing a repeat defeat by the Italian champions will give Valencia the chance to put their qualification for the last 16 in serious doubt.
If the Reds Devils fail to make it into the money-spinning knock-out stages, Mourinho could pay the price with his job after a miserable start to the season.
United were beaten by Paulo Dybala’s first-half strike at Old Trafford against Juve.
And coach Max Allegri will see the game as the perfect opportunity to leave one of Europe’s biggest clubs on the ropes.
United remain in second place in Group H – two points clear of Valencia.
But defeat in Italy coupled with a Valencia victory over Swiss minnows Young Boys would see the Spaniards clamber about them.
And Mourinho’s men face a trip to the Mestella in their final group game next month.
In contrast, Manchester City will reach the last 16 providing they beat Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad on Wednesday, coupled with Lyon winning their home tie against Hoffenheim.
Last month Mourinho says he wants to stay at Manchester United beyond his current contract.
Mourinho’s current deal runs out in 2020, with the option for an additional year, after he signed a one-year contract extension in January.
Real Madrid are reportedly keen to lure Mourinho back to the Bernabeu, with coach Julen Lopetegui under pressure and facing the sack.
Mourinho, who is himself under pressure, with United 10 in the Premier League after three defeats already this season, was asked about the link with Real and said: “No. My future is here – I have a contract and until the final of my contract I only think about Manchester United.
“I am happy to stay here longer than that.”