The jokes came thick and fast on Twitter after Manchester United’s 2-0 first leg Champions League defeat by Olympiakos in Athens: “The greatest Hellenic triumph since George Michael’s Careless Whisper.”
Former footballers were equally unforgiving: "MUFC have had the odd bad day over the years, but I cannot recall such an abject, hopeless, forlorn performance,” tweeted ex-England international Gary Lineker. “And against such mediocrity."
Then there were the photoshopped pictures of Manchester United’s tactical shape joined together by a thick red line spelling out “LOL.”
Wednesday’s media headlines tightened the tourniquet.
Tabloid newspaper the Sun went for full punning scorn: “Pitta-ful Utd in Greek tragedy as fans demand … MOUSACKA MOYES.”
This was a defeat that rocked the United family so much so that even midfielder Michael Carrick’s wife got involved in the post-mortem, taking to Twitter to abuse former Red Devils captain Roy Keane, who was working as a pundit for British broadcaster ITV.
If Keane, who as an analyst brings an intensity – and that is just with his eyes – that typified his firebrand performances for United, was less than impressed with Carrick’s performance, he was almost incandescent with rage at the England international’s post-match interview.
"That interview was just like the performance: flat. He should say a bit more, have a bit more urgency even in his interview,” said Keane, eyeballing ITV presenter Adrian Chiles. “That just reflected United's performance tonight: flat, with no urgency."
Carrick might have faced up to the cameras, but that was more than the club’s in-house TV station got, which reportedly was not even granted an interview with a player.
While Keane raged, Manchester United manager David Moyes donned his flak jacket and went into crisis management mode.
"That's the worst we've played in Europe,” Moyes told reporters after United’s first defeat to the Greek champions in five meetings.
“We didn't deserve to get anything. I’m surprised; I didn't see that level of performance coming. I take responsibility, we have to play better. The players are hurting."
Even an experienced pathologist might struggle to know where to start in carrying out the autopsy of this shambolic defeat.
Of greatest concern for Moyes was that in the “desire stakes” his players were found pitifully wanting.
Out of the FA Cup and the League Cup and trailing English Premier League leaders Chelsea by 15 points with 11 games left to play, the Champions League represented United’s only chance of silverware this season.
After a season of mediocre performances, surely the players would grab this opportunity with both hands? But in the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on Tuesday there was only one side that appeared ready to give everything for 90 minutes - and it wasn’t United.
Just as worrying for United was that key players such as Wayne Rooney – recently rewarded with a new contract worth a reported £300,000 ($500,000) a week – and Robin van Persie were so off key.
And this against a side that, when the draw for the knockout stages of the tournament was made in December, was widely viewed as no obstacle to United’s passage into the quarterfinals.
Olympiakos aren’t one of Europe’s strongest teams, and you can easily see United scoring three goals in the second leg at Old Trafford. The problem is that you can just as easily envisage the Greek team scoring against United’s ramshackle defense on March 19.
This was a defeat that raised further questions about the logic behind Moyes’ appointment as Alex Ferguson’s successor. Don't forget the former Everton manager has never won a major trophy as a manager and has limited experience of European football.
Some of Moyes’ picks for this game were mystifying.
United’ s next match is against struggling West Brom in the English Premier League on March 8, but inexplicably Moyes decided to leave Adnan Januzaj, one of the few players who has shown form and consistency this season, behind in Manchester.
Marouane Fellaini, who impressed in United’s win over Crystal Palace at the weekend in his first outing since December 4, was left on the bench by Moyes for the Athens game.
It’s not the first time that Moyes’ tactical philosophy has been questioned - notably after the team delivered 81 crosses in the 2-2 league draw with Fulham, with only 18 finding a teammate.
“If Moyes didn't see #mufc performance coming, it could be because he does not possess the vision,” tweeted Kevin Garside of British paper the Independent.
Van Persie did little to allay the impression that there is tactical drift at United when he told Dutch TV channel NOS: "Our fellow players are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in.
"And when I see that it makes it difficult for me to come to those spaces as well. So that forces me to adjust my runs, based on the position of my fellow players. And unfortunately, they're often playing in my zones. I think that's a shame."
Ferguson was given plenty of time to reshape United in his own image, but the alarming sense of deterioration at United this season under Moyes – this was the club’s 11th defeat – has raised questions from supporters whether the club’s current custodian should be entrusted with a reported $166 million transfer war chest in the summer.
Captain Nemanja Vidic has already said he is leaving at the end of this season, while the playing futures of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Anderson – currently on loan at Fiorentina - Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young and Carrick look uncertain.
So expect plenty of comings and goings at Old Trafford before the end of August.
The key question is whether United’s American owners – the Glazers – will remain patient with a manager who has looked less than comfortable in trying to get to grips with the not inconsiderable task of succeeding Ferguson.