SINGAPORE - Alarm bells might have rung at Old Trafford after Manchester United's 2-0 loss to cross-town rivals City on Wednesday (April 24), with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer supposedly summoned to a crisis meeting with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
But former United player Wes Brown saw a glimmer of hope in the loss, one that could spark a reversal of fortunes that will - with a bit of luck - propel the Red Devils to a top-four finish this season.
"City have been the best team in the league over the last two years and they could not ease up on any games as well, and I felt we did well in the first half," said the 39-year-old former defender.
"We kept the ball well, pressed a bit... then City came out in the second half and scored two goals; I am sure David (de Gea) will be disappointed, especially with the second goal, but mistakes do happen."
United are currently in sixth place on 64 points, two behind Arsenal and three behind Chelsea, and with an inferior goal difference to both sides. There are three games to go this season, with the Red Devils facing the Blues in a must-win game on Sunday.
"The fourth spot is still alive, I reckon," added Brown, who will be watching the game with local United fans at the Clarke Quay Fountain Square at the Football Moments event, presented by Chang Beer and organised by Singtel Media.
"We have to win all our games from now and hope there's a fall somewhere else. It's all about creating our own chances, and getting a bit of luck on our side."
Like United, Chelsea and Arsenal have blown hot and cold at the business end of the season.
Chelsea have won just three of their last seven Premier League games, dropping points at home to the likes of Wolves and Burnley, while Arsenal have lost three of their last four league games.
United themselves have lost four of their last six league games, a dip in form which coincided with Solskjaer being made permanent manager on March 28. Before that, the Red Devils were unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions after the Norweigian was appointed interim manager following Jose Mourinho's sacking last December.
When asked what he felt had gone wrong, Brown, who played alongside Solskjaer in United's legendary treble-winning side of 1999, said: "I wish I could tell you!
"There's obviously been a drop in confidence from somewhere, but I know from my playing days that when that happens, you just have to work harder as a team and pull it out from somewhere."
The former England international added that, regardless of whether or not United qualify for next season's Champions League, having the right players at the club next season will be crucial.
There has been speculation over the futures of goalkeeper De Gea, record signing Paul Pogba and misfiring striker Romelu Lukaku in recent weeks, to name a few.
Said Brown: "It's not like you can get rid of seven or eight players and bring in the same number of top quality players in one summer. It'll take a period of time.
"But I'm sure Ole has got players in mind he wants to sign, and I'm sure he wants them in early. He knows what he needs.
"For example, after (the 4-0 loss at) Everton he talked about wanting more running, wanting people to be fitter.
"Ole's watching and seeing everyday in training, and he understands who has been giving it their all and who hasn't."