Manchester United were downed 2-1 at home by a Tottenham side who went into the game level with them in the table.
Manchester United's midfield is widely renowned as a glaring weak point in the team, and with the transfer window now open there is no hiding place.
Manager David Moyes knows the pressure is onto find reinforcements, and likewise the players should also be stepping their game up to avoid being replaced.
None more so than under pressure Tom Cleverley, who played 84 minutes in the loss, outlasting the recently returned Michael Carrick.
Cleverley has found his place in the United, and England squad under question from fans, and needed a big display to help answer some of the criticism which has been heading in his direction in recent months.
As United kicked off 2014 on a sour note, Cleverley was unable to have a telling impact to a positive effect, and now finds himself under real scrutiny.
While he completed 93 per cent of his passes, he was ineffective in other areas. He had no shots on goal, and provided no key passes, the only United midfielder to do so.
He managed two tackles and made four interceptions, the latter being a good figure - but does not look so great when Michael Carrick by comparison registered exactly the same numbers in 23 minutes less playing time.
His 46 passes were also less than the 55 Carrick managed in less time on the pitch, while Cleverley's one attempted cross was unsuccessful.
In a match where United needed a win, and Cleverley could have helped convince Moyes the club do not need to sign a replacement for him, the performance was far from ideal.
Here's how United fans reacted to his display:
Wont watch another #MUFC game with Tom Cleverley in a starting line up ! By far the worse player on the pitch AGAIN— Paul MUFC (@paularnold1924) January 1, 2014
Kagawa and Hernandez made a big difference as subs, why start cleverley? #mufc— Tom Blunt (@tom_blunt) January 1, 2014
How many more chances will Cleverley going to get? Sell him back to Watford or Wigan where he belongs. #mufc— Kevin Moran (@morankp) January 1, 2014
Surely it's time for the most ardent #mufc fan to admit that Tom Cleverley just isn't good enough at this level? Very average again today.— John Hiley (@JohnHiley) January 1, 2014
I hate saying things like this - #MUFC will not win anything with Cleverley as a full time starting midfielder. Consistently dull.— The Grateful Red (@gratefulred1) January 1, 2014
I will happily drive cleverley and smalling to there new clubs in january cos they are not fit to wear that red jersey! #MUFC— Jordan Milne (@JordanLMilne) January 1, 2014
Who should United sign in January to take Cleverley's place in the first team?
image: © joncandy