(CNN) -- David Moyes has never won a major trophy -- and his hopes of landing his first in management are in jeopardy following Manchester United's latest setback.
Following the humiliation of being dumped out of the FA Cup by Swansea last weekend, United were beaten again, this time by lowly Sunderland.
Sunderland, which sits bottom of the Premier League, will take a 2-1 advantage to Old Trafford for the second leg of the League Cup semifinal following a hard-fought victory.
United, which won the Premier League last season, is facing an uphill task to defend its title following a disappointing start to the campaign.
Moyes' side is seventh after 20 games -- 11 points adrift of leader Arsenal, while it has also lost six games already this season.
This defeat, United's third in succession in all competitions, heaps yet more pressure on beleaguered manager Moyes and signals the club's worst start to a calendar year since 1932 when it also lost its three opening matches.
United had boasted an unbeaten record of 20 matches against Sunderland but looked disjointed and lacked a creative spark.
Ryan Giggs' own goal just before halftime gave Sunderland the lead before Nemanja Vidic headed an equalizer for the visiting side.
Sunderland's on-loan Liverpool forward, Fabio Borini, scored the winner from the penalty spot with 26 minutes remaining.
United, which won the Premier League meeting between the two at the Stadium of Light in October, was unable to find a second equalizer despite its late pressure.
"It is difficult we just need to keep going," Moyes told Sky Sports.
"We didn't do a lot wrong. I thought the referee was going to blow in our direction for the first goal. I couldn't believe he gave a free kick. It was a terrible decision.
"We are all just laughing at them at the minute. We get a player booked for doing the same. It looks as though we are having to play them [officials] as well as the opposition at the moment.
"I thought the players, our crowd were unbelievable, the players deserved to get a result. It's a two legged game and I am really looking forward to the second leg."
The two teams will meet at Old Trafford on Wednesday January 22 with the winners going on to face either Manchester City or West Ham at Wembley.