It's safe to say Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling had one of the worst games of his career in his side's 4-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend.
You could argue that the England international was at fault for all four goals, as Jose Mourinho was humiliated on his return to Stamford Bridge.
Pedro, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante were the goal scorers for the Blues that saw them move five points clear of their Manchester counterparts after just nine Premier League games.
Article continues below
When United hosted Manchester City in the EFL Cup earlier this week, Mourinho was seen after the game gesturing 4-0 to the Old Trafford faithful and putting his hands up to apologise for the embarrassing performance his team produced.
It was a day to forget for all that represented United against Chelsea, but it was Smalling who stood out as being the chief protagonist of their woeful display.
Article continues below
However, the Portuguese boss has come out to explain just why his defender was so bad in west London.
It's hard to believe why, but Mourinho actually praised Smalling for even playing in the game.
It turns out that the defender was carrying an injury - the reason why he didn't play against City - and that it was a big surprise that he was even named in the starting XI.
"He was phenomenal to play against Chelsea with such a difficult physical situation for him. He couldn't do it two days later against City. There was no chance," said the United boss, per Manchester Evening News.
It remains unclear whether Smalling will be fit to face Burnley this weekend, but one's thing for sure, he cannot produce another performance like that for United otherwise he will surely face the axe.
Ironically, United kept a clean sheet against their Manchester rivals in midweek - albeit against a second-string City side - but with Eric Bailly being ruled out with injury for two months, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind now have the opportunity to steal the two starting berths at the heart of the defence.
But United know that whoever starts against the newly promoted side, must go out and claim all three points.
A pack of five teams have already started to pull away from the Red Devils in the table at this early stage of the season, and after breaking the world record transfer fee on Paul Pogba and capturing Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer, they should be expecting to challenge them all.
CAN MANCHESTER UNITED STILL WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE THIS SEASON? HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE COMMENT BOX BELOW!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms