David Moyes will never be able to escape the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson - no matter what he achieves at Old Trafford - but the Manchester United manager is doing little to help himself emerge from the darkness.
The Scot has hardly started the way he would have hoped, with a Capital One Cup victory over Liverpool the only result to savour so far, and a jittery start to the season leading to criticism of tactics and selection.
Moyes was afforded a honeymoon period during pre-season, in which time he was keen to avoid any mentions of the man who he had succeeded at Old Trafford as he attempted to establish himself as the undisputed man at the helm.
But since the real business has started and broadsides have been fired, Moyes has reverted to persistent mentions of his illustrious predecessor, while fumbling for excuses for an inconsistent opening set of results.
When he once appeared desperate to embrace the players as his own, Moyes now publicly suggests the Manchester United squad still belongs to Ferguson, as he appears to position himself out of the firing line.
Even after Javier Hernandez had scored a well taken winner against Liverpool, Moyes pointed out that the Mexican's wonderful movement reflected "everything they've told me about him here."
A comment such as this seems like an attempt to reinforce that he remains in contact with Ferguson - perhaps a signal aimed at unsure Manchester United fans that he is not being left to his own devices, but is in cahoots of sorts with their former manager.
There is only so long, however, that Moyes can tip-toe around excuse territory before he must fully embrace the job he has taken, and accept that responsibility for success or failure this season lies solely with him.
Moyes is in the spotlight like never before, with every minor tinkering or tactical alteration analysed to the most minute of detail. Manchester United were bred by Ferguson to expect the best, and the flak will come if Moyes achieves anything less. At least that's what 'they' tell him.
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