Moyes United (15-6-10) are a remarkable 12 points outside of the top four in a disastrous first season under the Scotsman, and a comprehensive midweek 3-0 home defeat to neighbours Manchester City saw the fans begin to turn on Moyes. The loss made it just three wins from United's last eight league games, and the manager admitted he has been surprised by how difficult the season has been.
"I take responsibility for the team, I always will do," Moyes said. "Everyone knows this is going to be a job which is going to take a little bit of time to get the way we would like it, but that is the job and I recognise that.
"I thought it would be a tough year for us, no doubt about that, but I hoped it would be much more competitive and closer to the top of the league than we are at the present time."
At first glance, visitors Aston Villa (9-7-14) shouldn't be too tough a test for United. Villa are still yet to guarantee their Premier League survival and go into their visit to Old Trafford on the back of a 4-1 hammering against Stoke last time out. However, Villa have a sensational record against the bigger clubs this season, taking a point off Liverpool and beating Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
"We've got a habit of getting a great result against a big team and the following week not building on it and not making strides from it," said midfielder Marc Albrighton, referring to the 1-0 win over Chelsea prior to last weekend's capitulation against the Potters. "Sunday was a perfect example of that and we are terribly disappointed and we are hoping to put that right at Old Trafford.
"We've been in this relegation situation before and we know what it takes," continued Albrighton. "We've got players with experience that have been there and done it over the past few years and I think that will help us going into the last few games when every point counts."
United have injury doubts over Robin van Persie (knee), Nemanja Vidic (groin), Chris Smalling (hamstring) and Jonny Evans (calf), while Villa have concerns over the fitness of Andres Weimann (hip), Karim El Ahmadi and Libor Kozak (broken leg). Jores Okore (knee) and Charles N'Zogbia (calf) remain absent for the visitors.
Manchester United have dropped 42 points - the most they have ever dropped in a league season - and have suffered a franchise-worst 10 losses. One more home defeat would also mark a record seventh loss at Old Trafford in a Premier League season.
Villa are without a win in four games away from home, but only Chelsea (14) have conceded fewer goals on the road than Villa's 16 against.
A Danny Welbeck brace in the opening 20 minutes helped United to a 3-0 win over Villa when these teams met at Villa Park back in December. Villa have won just one of their last 36 league meetings with United, and have lost six straight to the Red Devils - being outscored 17-3 in those games.