"You want to get out of Old Trafford alive, that used to be our saying, you know."
David Moyes might have to live by the mantra he adopted as Everton coach after Wednesday night. Now winless in three, his fourth defeat as Manchester United manager reflected the worst on him, as he finally saw Everton win at Old Trafford.
It was the Toffees' first Premier League win at United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea since 1999. Moyes' record at those clubs in his 11 years at Goodison Park was a wretched one and a useful counter-argument for those adamant he was the right person to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. He's struggling to beat the big teams again with United.
The glaring fact of the matter for Moyes is Everton have improved without him and United have deteriorated with him. He was fortunate to emerge from the club's amateurish transfer window activity unscathed, but, as suspected, on Tuesday he effectively acknowledged he was partly to blame.
"Once I got the United job, I discussed it with Bill near enough immediately," Moyes said of returning to Everton for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. "I said that there would be some players I would be interested in.
"Bill was well aware of it but obviously it was always going to be a difficult thing when it actually came to it."
Difficult is an understatement. Moyes was announced as Ferguson's successor on 9 May, and yet United made a risible £28 million offer for both players in mid-August.
Admittedly a £12m bid was tabled for Baines in June, the same figure Moyes labelled "ridiculous" when Ferguson tried to sign the left-back in 2012.
The summer transfer window could potentially set United back years. The squad, which punched well above its weight thanks to Ferguson's ingeniousness, was not only in need of reinforcements but also a clear-out.
Moyes isn't, and may never be, half the manager Ferguson was, so it was essential he surrounded himself with genuine quality. Only the way United went about it was strikingly naive and they ultimately overspent on Fellaini, after they failed to meet his buy-out clause before the end of July.
The buck stops with the manager but there are other factors. The Everton defeat was the fourth League game Robin van Persie has missed this season and United have not won any of those fixtures. The Dutchman remains the club's most important player, irrespective of Wayne Rooney's renaissance.
Some are just not performing. Shinji Kagawa is playing with some regularity now but is struggling to convince, Tom Cleverley has regressed, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick's form has been shabby and a 40-year-old is still the club's most creative midfielder.
Ninth in the table and 12 points adrift of pace-setters Arsenal, the League is effectively over for United. Yes, they clawed back a 12-point deficit in 1996 to snatch the title away from Newcastle, but that was an awfully long time ago and the manager was Ferguson, who could derive a title-winning performance from a squad strengthened only by a Fulham reserve, an unknown Mexican and a Portuguese vagrant.
Although this is one of the most congested Premier Leagues in recent memory, United are prone to too many draws, with Kim Bo-Kyung's equaliser for Cardiff 10 days ago arguably the killer blow, in hindsight.
Draws were a speciality of Moyes', and so were top-half finishes without really threatening the top four. United could have hired a winner in José Mourinho in the summer but have settled for someone who will simply do his best.