Slutski joined the Russian side on a three-year contract last week after former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos was sacked.
Slutski arrives with a growing reputation, having built on his work at FC Moscow by guiding FC Krylya to sixth spot and a European spot for the first time in their history last season.
Now he has an even bigger challenge, although not as big as the one he faced as a 19-year-old when his playing days were ended in bizarre circumstances.
“It is true,” he shrugged.
“I got the injury at 19 when I was climbing a tree looking for a neighbour’s cat.
“I ended up as a hero in my village because I saved the cat. Unfortunately, I also fell out of the tree and injured my knee. It was awful because I had hardly started my career.”
Slutski can smile about the incident now but out of such a harrowing turn of events, the 38-year-old has risen to his present position as the next manager to lock horns with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Beaten at the Luzhniki Stadium a fortnight ago, CSKA are unlikely to prevent United sealing their place in the knock-out phase with two matches to spare.
However, Igor Anikfeev has plenty of reasons to impress having been linked with a move to United during the January transfer window.
“I have heard the speculation but it is just talk, nothing else,” he said.
“I cannot look at this match from a personal perspective. The career of every footballer grows from such games.
“We are playing a legendary team in a legendary stadium. It will be an inspirational game, the most important in our careers.”